Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama wins!!!

When I was in high school (1968-1972), we would occasionally have "assemblies", where everyone in the school would crowd into the auditorium and hear the principal give some kind of talk, or there would be a pep rally for one of the sports teams (snore), or a guest speaker would address us.

One year -- I can't remember which one it was -- one such assembly was called. Our principal, whose name was Nicholas DelNegro, introduced the speaker, a black man whose name I cannot at this point remember. I think he may have been a politician or a college administrator -- it's been a long time, and it really doesn't matter for the purposes of this story.

The principal finished the introduction, and the guy started speaking. He began by thanking Mr. DelNegro... and as he said that name, an audible titter swept through the auditorium. I just wanted to crawl into a hole... it was so embarrassing. I couldn't believe that so many of these idiots I had to go to high school with were so stupid -- I mean, laughing because this speaker was black and he said "negro" (as part of Mr. DelNegro's name). It was the worst kind of "Beavis and Butthead"-type moment, long before Beavis and Butthead were created.

The speaker paused. You could tell that he was pissed and appalled (and justifiably so). "Did I say something funny?" he asked. An awkward silence went on for maybe ten or twenty seconds. To his credit, the speaker continued and said his piece. I don't remember what he said. All I really remember from that incident was feeling ashamed to be part of this group of morons, even though I was not one of the ones who laughed.

Why do I tell this story? It's just a way of trying to articulate how I feel now that Barack Obama has won the election and will be our new President next year. Like many people of my age, I grew up in a time when the idea of a black President was an interesting fantasy -- something that, given the evolution of race relations and the civil rights struggle in the US, might some day be possible. But I really never expected to see it this soon. In fact, I despaired of seeing it within my lifetime.

(And it's not just the idea of a black man becoming President of the United States -- it's the idea of anyone OTHER than an old white guy becoming President of the United States. And I say that AS an old white guy. If Hillary Clinton had gotten the nomination, I would have voted for her in a heartbeat. Just as it is long past time that someone other than an old white guy got to be President, it is long past time that all Presidents need be men.)

There are a lot of important reasons to be happy that Barack Obama has won the election. He's smart, tough and principled. He understands and respects the Constitution (a quality that those in the White House for the last eight years clearly don't share). But simply the fact that he has been elected -- a black man with an exotic-sounding Middle Eastern-type name, in a time when we are all supposed to be afraid of people with names like that, when those in power expect that when they say the word "Terrorist!" we will all froth at the mouth like Pavlov's dogs and march in lockstep to whatever fear-mongering tune they play -- is something that offers me hope that this country actually CAN get its act together and quite possibly have a decent future. Our evolution toward a better society -- which seemed to screech to a halt and start to backslide during the dark days of the current Bush administration -- may actually start moving forward again.

I'm not a "Pollyanna". I don't expect that Barack Obama will be a perfect President, or that everything he and his administration does will be right. But as I right now watch John McCain give his concession speech (to his credit, a very gracious one), I am filled with hope for our country, more so than I have been in any of the last eight years. -- PL

21 comments:

Vaughn Michael said...

I hope Dr. Baxter Stockman does a good job.
Hah sorry the way Obama speaks with the pauses reminds me of Baxter or maybe William Shatner.

Jamie M. said...

Very wonderful! He has shown that anyone can TRULY become anything they want. Now I hope he can show the country and world the greatness we can achieve. Great post!

Ectopaul said...

Heh, y'know maybe it's because I'm an ultra turtle geek but I thought of Mirage Baxter a couple times today.

I voted for Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden today and I'm glad my voice was heard or whatever. I'm looking forward to their presidency.

Goongasnootch said...

I'm so looking forward to this!

Dragon Turtle said...

PL said...

Like many people of my age, I grew up in a time when the idea of a black President was an interesting fantasy


Trust me Peter, as someone from a younger generation, I can say those feelings are not exclusive to baby boomers.

We as a country have come a long from the days when the idea of a black president would be mere fantasy (to be honest, Colin Powell probably could have won years ago).


As to how Obama will do as president? Who knows? Personally, I thought whoever won this election didn't stand much chance of being re-elected, (too much to do in such little time) a "rebound" President.

Here's hoping Obama proves me wrong.

GreenWillow said...

I was in the 5th grade when John F. Kennedy was assassinated and I think it was right around that time that I became aware of the civil rights movement.

Along with about 20 different emotions going through me tonight, I was struck by those two families on the stage in Chicago; the Obamas and the Bidens, black and white, coming together together. And Barack himself, a biracial man, seemed in a way the living embodiment of a reconciliation and healing that began so many years ago.
This election of course wasn't just about race. It was also about so many people coming together in an unprecedented number and at an amazing level of commitment and inspiration.
I've been trying to organize my thoughts about this election for two months now. Something huge has happened that I can't seem to capture in words.
But I know that for all of the work (and stress!) those of us who've supported Obama have done so far, this is only the beginning. This country has a tremendous amount of work to do.
For the first time in a long time I want to be part of that.

~Donna

Tristan Jones said...

It was surprising to see the number of people gathered around televisions out on the street here. Based on what people have been saying here, and what's been running in the papers, I think a lot of Australia was anticipating Obama winning.

Mayhem said...

Most people I know here in the UK were expecting an Obama victory as well. Maybe not quite by that margin, but a victory nonetheless. Let's hope he can do a good job and prove the faith.

~ tOkKa said...

-->> Frustration ..


.. i am ashamed of some of the most moronic, ' RED NECK ' , racist things i heard over the past 12 hours or so.


Never in my life would i have ever EVER thought the racist, black & white ideology of have permeated to the head of the pack in the South of Denver.

( Yes Colorado Springs .. i'm calling you out .. !! )

Indeed i am dumbfounded ..i don't understand it .. i just don't get it.

How many times did i hear tonight, " O HE'S A MUSLIM "

..uhh no he 's not. That's been painstaking clear from nearly the start, any idiot should know that by now. But i guess the idiots around here don't.

And ya know what .. even if he was Muslim.. ya know what .. big f7ckin' deal. If you have not evolved beyond that level of intolerance in your existence ..that is beyond frightening.

In fact you also have no grounds in this " O' people hate us Christians .. " if you go around and attack others on pure here-say or simply because their beliefs are different than yours. My god.. o my god.

" O THAT BLACK MAN !! HE WAS ELECTED !! "

O' ..ok, Cowboy.. why are you freeking out ?!


No one freeks out around here when brainless maniacs get elected to high local power to pound this historic and once beautiful city into the ground and continue to make it this wasteland of development and sprawl.

Get out of that 2 % that think that Race is a factor in any of this.

If Jesus really were to float down here and see what the hell some of these people in the "SPRINGS" were doing and thinking ..i swear he'd shake them and and slap them silly.

My god.. evolve already !!


Ughh .. if i ever get out of this city .. - jess



( sorry , Pete .. it's been so hard to see thru' the thick of some peoples' hate.

There's still so much work to do .. ).

>v<

Sarah The Anime Librarian said...

I never vote for anyone due to their race or gender, anymore than I would vote against them because of said things. I voted for who I thought was the best man (or woman) for the job.

Having said that, thank god this has happened. I pray that this makes the future moot to this kind of thing. What I mean is, now that its happened I hope that it makes people in the future not even think about a candidates race or sex or religion.

I'm probubly wrong, even after JFK beinga catholic president we still bring religion into the mix, but I can hope.

I want it to be a totally normal thing to have a woman or a black, or a Hispanic, or an Asian, or a Jewish...or a Wiccan...or a Muslim....you get the idea...president, just as "normal" as thinking of a white male as president.

I really want us to get the hell over this crap, and look at people for being people..who are they, what do they believe, when we vote.

I am so happy this is finally here. May it be the start of something real.

(And I voted for him. I think he's an amazing guy, and I'm glad he got in)

Now if only that stupid marriage ban had not passed in CA my day would be perfect. I hope all those couples come to MA!

nacho said...

I do not know why exactly, but as a latino -and like many latin americans- i am happy he is the new president.

~ tOkKa said...

-->> ..AMEN , Sarah..

>v<

Neil said...

(And it's not just the idea of a black man becoming President of the United States -- it's the idea of anyone OTHER than an old white guy becoming President of the United States. And I say that AS an old white guy. If Hillary Clinton had gotten the nomination, I would have voted for her in a heartbeat. Just as it is long past time that someone other than an old white guy got to be President, it is long past time that all Presidents need be men.)>>

That's pretty much how I feel about politics these days. And it's nice that no matter how this election went, some much needed change would have happened. Either a first female VP, or our first Black President. And if Obama hadn't decided to run, I wonder if McCain would have even chosen a female running mate if it didn't give him some edge with woman voters?

Quite honestly, I'm glad that we have a fresh perspective in the White House. I hope he's learned from the past mistakes of the previous administration (i.e. no pointless wars, no telecom immunity for illegal spying, shouting terrorist like the kid who shouts wolf and expects to be paid attention too etc) and I hope it improves our foreign relations.

Although I've noticed, after getting up at 2AM to find out who won, that Democrats have pretty much won across the board.

I wonder how many people voted for him not because he was black, or for what he stood for, but because we just didn't need another 8 years with a republican in the house?

And I just want to end this saying I don't support any party...I hate democrats, I hate republicans, independents, and politics in general. So don't take this note and twist it to your own political agenda :).

thanks for reading :).

MegaComicsGroup.com said...

I'm excited and hopeful about President Obama! I agree with most everything you said. I have wanted to see this all my life as well.
One thing I would like to know, however, and I only bring it up here because I keep hearing this all over but with no explanation. How is it that the current administration had no respect for the Constitution any more or less than any other? I'm not saying they did or didn't but I keep hearing folks say this without any reason to back it up. Talk about marching in lockstep! What gives? Really? A serious answer would be appreciated. Thanks. On an unrelated note: I've loved TNMT since they first came out. I have the second and third printings of the original!

Mentski said...

"If Jesus really were to float down here and see what the hell some of these people in the "SPRINGS" were doing and thinking ..i swear he'd shake them and and slap them silly."

If he were to float down, he'd probably get shot for being a suspected "terrorist".

...because he surely wouldn't look like the white guy with the beard apparent in most western Christian imagery.

Sarah The Anime Librarian said...

" or a Jewish...or a Wiccan...or a Muslim...."


LOL that was supposed to read "Or a Jewish Person" lol. Can you tell I was up too late?

poppyrobbie said...

I'd like to write a long, wordy piece about how excited I am about the fact that Barack Obama is our new President-elect, but frankly I'm still trying to absorb it all.


Since watching his 2004 address to the DNC, I have followed his career and political movement. First absorbing his books, keeping tabs on his political progress and then actively participating as much as I was able to. He has run an outstanding and civil campaign and raised the standards by which future politicians will be measured.


Overcoming countless trivial attacks from both sides of the isle over the course of these long and tiresome primary and presidential campaigns, now I believe he will hold true to his principals and promises and bring the country together in order to move us in a much-needed FORWARD direction.


USA! USA! USA!

-r

~ tOkKa said...

-->> USA .. USA ..



USA .. USA ..


USA .. G I


YO J I M B O ..
~~ **

>v<

Ectopaul said...

Tokka dude... I started choking. Funniest thing I read all day.

God Family Country said...

respects the Constitution? Not that Bush or McCain do, they clearly hate it, but Obama seems to hate it just as much but in a different way. Bush hates to obey the part about only congress declaring war, and that pesky 4th amendment, etc. Obama seems to hate that pesky 10th amendment not giving him authority to do most if not all that he has proposed.

All of dictators of a different stripe.

MegaComicsGroup.com said...

God Family Country - Eh? He had Congressional approval twice! Would than not be Congress Declaring War? I would be more concerned with the electronic ease dropping, but Bush is not the only one who has done that, Clinton had that going on too and just about every President for the past 50 years had some form of it. I just hope President Obama comes through on his promise for change and regulates things he should, like out of control Credit Card companies and leaves the honest citizens alone. But honestly I'm afraid we have long since lost most of our freedoms. Heck, a cop can perform unlawful searches at the drop of a hat. Actually every time he hit's your car with radar to check your speed is unconstitutional, and we don't even have to talk about the use of traffic cameras.