As I was holding the Sweet Pea last night, listening to Obama give his victory speech, I wondered what her future would be like.
What will the world look like in four years? In eight? Twenty? My little girl was sound asleep, head nestled in the crook of my elbow, breathing gently. Absolutely beautiful and completely unaware how much the world changed this night.
Mom was remembering that when she was young, black people couldn't use the same bathrooms or drinking fountains as white folks. Now, one generation later, there will be a black family living in the White House.
I've read many disturbing postings in various places already spewing hatred for an Obama administration. I just don't understand where it comes from. The guy has yet to be sworn in, and some people are ordering bumper stickers saying "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For McCain". As if not even twenty four hours after his win, somehow the country has become a worse place to live.
Last night I felt hope again. Hope that people would finally grow up and learn to get along even if they disagree. I could almost see as a reality a country where people could disagree, yet still be friends. Where government works in a practical way for the people it serves. Where those same people would not just be patriotic in good times and in their circle of like minded, like skinned friends. But where a white middle class auto worker and a Muslim New York cab driver could be seen as equally patriotic. Where the American dream is re-ignited and people learn the true meaning of the power of that dream. I admired Obama for admitting that he needed John McCain to help him in the next four years. I admired McCain for his unhesitating willingness to give that support. McCain gets it. When the sun came up on November 5th, we are all still Americans. McCain will support his President. Even in disagreement. That's a true patriot.
Tonight I see that there will always be those on the extremes that will hate regardless. Perhaps, just perhaps those of us in the center will unite and rise up and finally be heard over the far right and left. Perhaps we can compromise and live together. Not everyone will always be happy with every decision. But maybe there is a way to find common ground on the big issues. Maybe this new President is the one to do it. As Nancy Gibbs of Time wrote,
"We get the leaders we deserve. And if we lift them up and then cut them off, refuse to follow unless they are taking us to Disneyland, then no President, however eloquent, however historic his mandate or piercing his sense of what needs to be done, can take us where we refuse to go. This did not all end on Election Day, Obama said again and again as he talked about the possibility of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And so, we are merely at the end of the beginning. "
I couldn't agree more. Obama can't do it alone. His administration can't do it alone. He built a grass roots system. Let's see how it works if we take a position of hope and support, instead of anger and bitterness. Let's see if we can all learn to be true patriots.
Good Luck America.