I'm still around. Not exactly for lack of trying not to be, but we won't talk about that. Instead, let's talk about history. Yes, history.
I was in the kitchen at about 10 pm last night, around the time that Barack Obama became our nation's 44th president. I came home at 9:30. After I walked into the apartment my youngest sister, Nancy, greeted me and said, "Sister, Obama has 200 points." I didn't correct her and tell her that he didn't have points so much as votes. It didn't matter. I was impressed with her interest. I went to the kitchen to make tea when I heard my sister yell out, "Sister, Obama has 290 points now!" My response was immediate, "No way. Are you kidding me?" I put the kettle down and raced to the TV. And there it was. I sat down, covered my eyes, and began to cry. The first thing that came to my mind? I wish my father, my black father, had lived to see this.
I have been obsessively watching videos on YouTube and newspaper web sites, videos of rejoicing, hopeful, embracing crowds. I smile as I glance at the photographs of tearful celebration, these photos do something good to my heart. I need that right now. Very much. It is definitely a time for dancing in the streets. No one is expecting President-elect Barack Obama to change the world overnight. At least, I hope not. People with even a modicum of common sense can concede that the damage done by eight years of George W. Bush cannot be undone overnight. And any who would have you believe that the last eight years have done no damage, well, I can't really help those people. Perhaps they have lived on another planet since the year 2000.
As I watched President-elect Obama's rally on television, I made a mental comparison to Senator McCain's and realized that we do indeed now have a candidate whose eloquence, intelligence, and judgment can unite people from disparate and distant camps. To my mind, that's the true calling of a 21st century president. Of course, it's not the only calling. But that goes without saying. That celebrating Chicago crowd was full of Blacks, Whites, Asians, Arabs, Gays, Straights--you name it, we were all there. President-elect Obama, please do not let us down. I beg of you. Inspire us, instill hope, but be honest with us, and we will follow you. We are ready to be genuinely and honestly led. I believe that.
I sent Jenna a celebratory text which said very simply, "WE HAVE A BLACK PRESIDENT!!!" Her response? "YES WE CAN!"
I guess we can, can't we?
I don't believe in a Heaven or Hell, but if I'm wrong, Daddy, I hope you're watching.