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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Home of the Brave

So, I got a bit emotional last night.

Normally, politics just make me mad and passionate, so the last thing I feel like doing is shedding a tear. But yesterday I was moved. When I saw the African-American grandmother standing in the crisp Chicago air suddenly fall to her knees and weep upon hearing the announcement that Obama had won, my salty floodgates opened.

I truly cannot imagine the reels of flashback-movies that were playing in this woman’s mind. From Selma to Memphis, from Jim Crow to Martin Luther King, I’m sure her knees buckled from the weight of a dream that was now fulfilled.

Did I support Obama because he’s Black? No. I’m in his corner because I believe in his qualifications, his intellect and his sound platform.

But, does it warm my heart to think that America might actually be more color-blind than I originally thought (especially having lived in the South, where I witnessed racism often)? Absolutely. It makes me feel proud.

I feel proud that EVERY American can say, “Obama did it, so can I!”

I feel proud that the Chicago Grandma can clutch the picture of her long deceased mother and say, “See, mom, we did it! You and dad fought not in vain.”

And, selfishly, I am especially thankful for MY Grandma. Oh, I know that she didn’t have to battle the demons of racism, but my grandma sacrificed a LOT to fight for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She journeyed through the frozen tundra, losing her toddler brother to the elements. She gave up her education so that she could work to pay off the debt her family incurred to immigrate. She worked from sun up to sunset in order to put food on the table. She did this all so that her children, including my dad, could know an easier, better life. She did this all so that her children’s children could live in a country where they could worship freely. She did this all so that her children’s grandchildren could live securely in a nation that values healthcare; where physical therapists and neurosurgeons are affordable and readily available.

My Oma has a lot in common with the grandmother from Chicago. The color of their skin is different, but they share an unquenchable love for their children.

President Obama has a tough road ahead. He’s inheriting a huge mess, and he has a lot of governing yet to do. He will not provide perfect leadership. I pray that he will make two good decisions for every bad one.

But yesterday, in the ballot-box moments, when Americans cast their votes without seeing the color of either candidate’s skin, we all won. A color-blind world, a religiously tolerant world, a non-conscription and peaceful world is what my Grandma, Obama’s Grandma, McCain’s Grandma, and most likely YOUR Grandma sacrificed for.

What a great night.

My Oma (Grandma) with her great-granddaughters.


Laurel said...

How sad that Obama's grandma died the night before the election. I'm sure she left this world knowing what was likely to happen but still, I'm sure it would have been nice to have been there.