America’s First Black President
I noticed from my Facebook page that one of my best friends updated his file with For the first time I am proud of my country, and reading Bob Herbert this morning I see that America should be proud at the election of Barack Obama as President. I haven’t talked about this much during the campaign, living the reality that race means nothing, but that obviously isn’t the reality of our culture, and before the great event moves on too much I think it’s important to state my overriding feelings on the matter: about time.
In workaday life outlook I don’t accept race as a factor in interacting with any human unthinkingly, black people are my friends, my bosses, my shipmates, my music heroes, how the fark is it possible anyone could judge such humans based on race? My best friend and I are genetic copies except for a .014 difference, we all are. I impatiently bat away those among us living in racism to be so very lost and so damn irrelevant, thank god.
Which is not say I don’t always carry an acute sense of history about what the Untied States has done to the black American experience and a fervent desire to see this demographic live better, hello? We’ve still got issues to engage here. I was joyous at the election results, yes, but far more relieved than happy. After all that has happened over the last three hundred years I was truly scared of some sort of tragedy and that, somehow, we would let our black people down in an unholy nightmare, I still refuse to fully think about it.
That, thank all the atoms of the universe, did not come to pass. I’ve watched Oprah’s post-election show twice and the reaction is the same: profound relief that so many of our brothers and sisters are finally, truly, home. About time.
I felt a little remiss last week in explaining my not-exuberant endorsement of Obama as a wariness against hero worship, as if I were describing the phenomena in others, but the truth of course is that I would desperately like Obama as a hero, he is such a fine man. I am profoundly grateful for his brilliant campaign, and after that masterful, intelligent, humble, endearing press conference yesterday I want a marble bust of the dude in my kitchen. He has a beautiful family and a galactically good education and brain, what an incredible job he has done with the gifts given him.
I suppose I am truly getting older, though, for a wariness has creeped into all of my life outlook I’m not really used to yet, so I detachedly watch, trying to be careful not to make a mistake that could impede President Obama and pleased to beat the shit out of Congress in the meantime instead, they earned it and the duty is relevant, the hosers are coming back into session.
Pride? In my America? Hmmm.
I love my country fiercely, yes, but I am saddened still, even after the election. I suppose I’ll never be able to truly explain to folks how much I love one of my heroes, Al Gore, how hurt and lost I have always felt since America was robbed of his Presidency.
Almost as bad is the instant sneering dismissal of it all, as if a lost stolen election was just another microwave model that didn’t work out, oh well. Even my friends and Party compatriots to this day blame Al for failure after getting more votes nationally and in Florida, what was Al supposed to do, get less votes?
Now we have another great visionary as a Democratic leader, who thank god was not robbed, somehow, who must try and lead a country in utter ruins. Had Al Gore taken his rightful place I am positive with all my soul none of this horror would have happened, the memos would have been acted upon, just for starters. Is stealing an election just a trifle now, America?
But as I say nationally all this is swatted away as bitter foolish resentment, which even makes the feeling even more lonely—and even more permanent. I am joyous at the election of Barack Obama and even more relieved, but I am still sad about election 2000 and what could have been, and profoundly heartsick at all the damage since. It has motivated me for life, and if I can help President Obama truly fix some of it over many years perhaps, maybe, the pride I used to have in my country will replace the sorrow. I hope so.