05 November, 2008

By the content of their character

I wrote this for my Livejournal late last night, intending to come up with something more polished this morning. But in the end, I think it was a good post as originally written, so I'm just copying it here.

The tears surprised me. I had been trying so hard all day, not to hope, to prepare myself for going to bed tonight, disappointed, not yet knowing who would win the election, having the outcome precarious.

And then, as I was counting up the tally on the Google election map, they announced it on TV. Obama won. McCain conceded. And I noticed there were tears in my eyes.

I voted for Obama because I believe he will best represent my interests. I voted based on the merits. Intellectually, race didn't matter to me. Obama was the better candidate. Whether he will live up to the promises he has made, whether he will fulfill the hopes that people have piled on top of him, he is still the better candidate to represent me. Intellectually, I was willing to leave it there.

But when they announced that Obama won, I noticed I was crying. And the thought that kept running through my head was, "This is someone who is like me. Someone who looks like me. Someone who had some similar experiences. Someone like me is going to be the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES."

I am still just... awestruck.

The cynical part of my brain keeps analyzing the speeches, keeps aloof, looking at the ways that news reports fall back on a series of cliches; I look at the representations of supporters on each side--white, downcast supporters of McCain; jubilant or crying multiracial supporters of Obama. I analyze, I criticize.

But inside, I feel like my heart has filled up with wonder. That this moment should occur, that I am writing about it right now, tonight... it's amazing to me. There is a level that cynicism and intellectualization can't conquer. Today, November 4th, 2008, a majority of the United States elected someone like me to be president. And I think about all of the little children who will spend the next four--or eight--years with someone who looks like them in the White House. Who will have this example in front of them, as they imagine the possibilities in their lives.

It's a spiritual moment for me as well, and I just want to say "Thank you" to the powers that made this possible.