Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A night to remember

Meet the next First Family of the United States: Barack, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha Obama. Barack--and all of us who knocked on doors, made phone calls, gave money, and of course VOTED--made history yesterday. Three hundred eighty nine years after the first African slaves landed on our shores, 145 years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and 43 years after President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, we have come together to elect a black man, Barack Hussein Obama, as president.

This is an historic event not just for all of the African-Americans whose dreams seemed to be so often deferred, but for all Americans. Barack Obama showed us how to look beyond the divisions of class and race, red and blue states, "real" and I guess "fake" America, and embrace our common goodness. His refusal to engage in name-calling and partisianship in this campaign, his cool in the midst of the financial crisis, and his intellectual curiosity are all encouraging signs of the kind of president he will be.

Over the course of the campaign, I've spent days canvassing for Obama in Indianapolis and Lafayette, Indiana. For anybody who has never knocked on the doors of complete strangers to talk about politics, I recommend it. Seriously. It will force you to examine your stereotypes. At times, you will be way out of your comfort zone. And often, it will warm your heart. A few anecdotes:
  • A bright 18 year-old with a developmental/medical disability who had decided to vote for Obama after studying each candidate's health care platforms. He was clearly excited about being able to vote for the first time.
  • A 39 year-old woman of very modest means who recently registered to vote for the first time because she saw in Obama a man who cared and would make life better for her and her family.
  • A man who told me that his entire family, including his son in Iraq, had already voted for Obama. He saw in Obama the candidate who would be most likely to bring his son home safely and to ensure that vets receive the care and benefits they deserve.
  • An older black woman who wanted an extra door hanger as a keepsake to pass on to her grandchildren.
  • And even a 76-year old white man who admitted that "he'd like to see the n****r in the White House. I don't like black people," he said, "but I think he'd make a good president."
Given the amount of time I've spent in Indiana, then, I felt a special thrill when I read--only this morning--that the state went for Obama. First time Indiana has gone for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1964. I like to think I own a tiny part of that achievement!

I haven't been blogging much lately because obsessively checking the political blogs eats up a lot of time, if you know what I mean. Obama's win has put my world to rights again.


Tom said...

Thanks a million times, Sara. You've made a difference. It's all good.

Pat Bracewell said...

You do indeed own a part of this achievement! Congratulations on a job well done. I have great hope for the future of our youth -- Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, all of them! -- now that they have such an extraordinary role model in the Oval Office.

Sara Latta said...

Oh, thank you, guys. I just knew I'd be wasting my time worrying and checking the polls those days anyway. I thought this would be a better use of my time and obsessive tendencies.


Speak(er) said...

Yeah, you're back! I've missed your posts.


Sara Latta said...

Thanks, Lu! I've missed you, too.

Any thoughts about the Obama family puppy?