This morning, I sat bolt upright in bed at 6:30am. This morning felt like Christmas morning, every nerve ending screaming for me to get in the shower. Except, this morning, I wasn’t excited about getting a pile of gifts; I was excited about getting one giant gift--a new president of the United States Specifically, and to be completely transparent, what got me out of bed this morning was the opportunity to cast my vote for Barack Obama.
This morning, as I raced down Holman Road, cut quickly over on Grosvenor, and then bolted up Underhills, I was racing towards history. As I uncapped my pen and filled in the arrow next to Barack Obama’s name, I was voting for myself, my Great-Aunt Sis, my Great-Granda Juanita, her mother Loma, and all of the Haynes-Lacy family that survived slavery to make my life possible. I voted this morning for Jason Strother, Jr. and Shayla Zoerink--my niece and nephew.
This was a historic election year. Not only was Barack Obama on the ballot but so were Cynthia Mckinney and Rosa Clemente--two black women heading a major U.S. party ticket (and do not get it twisted, the Green Party with hundreds of elected members across this country IS a major party despite the best efforts of the Republicans and Democrats). If this were a true democracy, I may have cast a different vote today. But, in the end, it wasn’t just about voting for a progressive person of color--it was voting for a progressive person of color and then having the opportunity to watch that person walk into the White House as President of the United States of America.
This today was about history and victory. Will Mr. Obama bring the radical change that I dream about? Probably not. Have McCain and Palin with their far left and socalist red baiting opened the way for Obama to be much more progressive than if he had been forced to play the middle of the road character that Bill Clinton did in the 90s? Hell yes. Will he take the opportunity? I sure as hell hope so.
I am still proudly a Green. As a matter of fact, I am now a registered member of the Green Party of California. But, today, I was not voting just for myself I was voting for the black mother and her son that entered the poll as I was leaving. The woman had a huge smile on her face when she looked at me and said, “Today is an exciting day.”
This is my fourth presidential election. Never have I ever seen people smiling as they went to the polls. Never have I seen the every day working person proud of a candidate for the nation’s highest office. Never have I seen children bouncing down the street singing about a man that, as of poll close tonight, be the next President of the United States.
If Obama wins, our work will be harder than if he loses. If he wins, all the forces of oppression that live freely in this nation will array themselves against all of us that believe that justice is the moral imperative and not a misguided belief in the divinity of money or the religiosity of hate. We will see an organized resistance that, unless we are able to maintain and strengthen the multi-racial, multi-class coalition that Obama has been able to tenuously forge, will rip this country apart in its effort to break us.
We will not be broken.
Today is for Juanita, Druscilla, Loma, Big Sam, my Dad, my brothers and sister, my nieces and nephews, and for all of those that did not survive that did not make it that did not wake up today to see this possibility with their own eyes.