2 years ago
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Never in my life have I felt "proud to be an American" until now. Glad that I come from Oregon, happy to say I've lived in California, sure. I remained, however, riddled with doubt and cynicism about America. This cynicism was amplified by living abroad and a constant duty to explain the disparity between America's politics the beliefs of its citizens. While in Germany, I almost felt it was my job to prove to Europeans that we are not what we might seem. That the ideals on which this country was founded might still be put into practice. That the policies of the past eight years have been extremely unpopular not just abroad, but at home. That we don't necessarily agree with the way our country has been run. But I dared not hope for something different. Honestly, since Kerry lost in 2004 I have never even gone so far as to imagine an America governed by someone other than an inept embarrassment and a calculating, sinister puppet-master. On Election night it all melted away. The constipated nightmare that has been American politics for the past eight years ran down the drain with Barack Obama's impeccable acceptance speech. Of course he cannot fix everything. But this is a sea change on the side of hope and positivity. This is a man I can admire as president. A man who will create a government we can unite behind. A man who thinks things through, who speaks eloquently, and finally a man who truly represents the racial and cultural melting pot that is America. For the first time ever, this is a president elect who represents not just the country I come from, but ME.
I remember once reading about how John Lennon met Yoko Ono. It was at one of her art shows, and he recounted climbing up a ladder to look into a sort of magnifying device at something written almost microscopically on the ceiling. As he peeked into the eyepiece, the word "YES" appeared. He described how overwhelmed he was with the positive energy of this word, the simplicity of it. How just one word can conjure a world of good. I think of this when I hear the slogan of Obama's campaign. "Yes we can." It is inclusive, positive, and hopeful. It indicates that although we have chosen a leader to set the example, change is everybody's responsibility. It is inspiring to know this is our future.
P.S. When was the last time a U.S. president inspired anything in the media other than criticism and fodder for the Daily Show? Think about that while you watch this.
Posted by Caitlin at Saturday, November 08, 2008