Anyone who reads my blog on a somewhat regular basis knows that I have been quite negative towards Barrack Obama over the past few months or year. I’m a pretty negative guy, but today’s blog is not (completely) about that. As I was walking to borrow my neighbors car yesterday (to go – unbeknownst to me – get screwed over by the Democrats) I began to think about what it meant to have a black president; just a black president, I’m not talking about the pro’s and con’s of Barrack Obama the person, just the fact that he’s black. My eyes began to tear up as I pictured a different looking person giving the State of the Union address or announcing some new plan. I know if I’m lucky enough to live long I will eventually be an old white guy, yet I never saw myself in the faces of any of the presidents I have been alive to watch. Obama does not look like me, but I feel like he represents my voice better than either of the Bush’s, Clinton, Carter, or Reagan (the presidents I have been alive for). As the day went on and I thought about it more, I began to get more and more excited, and when – pretty shortly after the polls had closed – it became obvious that he was going to be elected president, I was ecstatic. For the first time in my life I am able to push all of our bullshit policies aside and say that I am proud as hell to be a US citizen. A black man won the majority of the votes in Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, and other slavery and otherwise racist states. We – as a country – overwhelmingly voted a black man into office; the progressive minded people outvoted the racist, small-minded old people. We are looking at a completely different country this morning.
When I was sitting quietly in a restaurant with my beautiful wife watching President elect Obama give his acceptance speech – even though I was disappointed in it overall – one thing struck me, and it gave me – ME – great hope. He said (and I’m completely paraphrasing) “me getting elected does not necessarily mean change, it is up to you – the people – to bring about this change.” I have never heard a president speak like that; that’s when it dawned on my why I felt like I could connect with him more than any of the other guys. This is a guy who got his start like I got mine- by organizing small amounts of seemingly powerless people to make change. He worked his way up from small meetings with a bunch of idealistic young people, to the highest position in the entire world. Whether he’s black, white, both, or neither doesn’t matter; he comes from the bottom, so no matter what he ends up saying or doing, we all know that he understands the concept of change coming from the roots. Old white men cannot make change; Obama (who is an upper class, educated, heterosexual, man) cannot make change; the power structure in the world cannot change until the people on the very lowest rungs make that change. We know that Obama knows this and therefore it is up to us to make sure we constantly remind him.
This amazing day is only possible because of people from the bottom, people hitting the streets and getting people to vote, informing people on the issues, and being dedicated. It was only possible because of groups like Students for Peace and Justice (a little pat on the back to myself) fighting for the past few years (and other groups who have done a lot more for a lot longer) to bring about change through awareness. We did this, and it needs to be carried on now. There are millions (maybe tens of millions) of people who thought they were powerless, who thought they had no voice, who thought they didn’t matter, but who know now that all of that is bullshit. If as few as half of them keep this in mind over the next four years and continue to organize and continue to shout at the top of their lungs with their newly found voices, change will actually occur. I have just decided that I won’t get negative in this post, today is a happy day and I want to enjoy it. I also – even though I didn’t vote for Obama – have a lot of “haha” emails to send out today.