Wednesday, November 5, 2008

'President Elect' has a nice ring to it!

"...Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope." - Barack Obama

As I walked into the gas station on this bright Wednesday morning and picked up the single remaining copy of USA Today, I looked at words and the image on the front page and thought to myself: What an exciting night; what an beautiful morning! The cashier, a lanky thin man with a crooked smile and tattooed wrists, looked down at my paper and asked if I voted.
"Yes." I said with a smile.
He tapped the front page and asked, "Did you vote for HIM?" emphasizing the end of his sentence in an almost theological way.
"I did!" I smiled again.
"Me too!" he exclaimed, as he handed me my change.
As I walked out, I wondered if he waited on line to vote like I did, I wondered if his family disagreed with him, I wondered if he deliberated over his choice, I wondered how many other things we had in common and I wondered what I would have said if I hadn't voted for "HIM". Ordinary people, proud of an ordinary act that lead to an extraordinary outcome. This election and it's champion have brought about inspiring moments and experiences that I hope can be captured as memories and passed on for generations to come.

People in the streets all around the country were celebrating, crying, cheering and dancing. 250,000 people at the largest outdoor rally in history and yet, police reported no problems. A park, a stage, the waving flag at midnight with not so much as a chill in the air. Were the weather gods for CHANGE? I think so.

Other nations saw America in a new light last night, other nations were proud of our people. There was talk of the remarkable number of people waiting to leave their private-sector jobs and work for the government. Talk of change and talk of direction.

Sadly, I would not call myself a patriot and there are only a few times that I can even remember my heart beating red, white and blue. I have never felt the true meaning of sacrifice or known how or when to put my country first. Although I was only six years old, I remember the great sadness that was cast upon us when the space shuttle Challenger exploded and then to an ever greater extent, the tragedy of September 11, 2001. I remember feeling the same pangs as other Americans as I watched the wrath of Katrina and the struggle to efficiently rescue our southern neighbors. All of these tragedies invoked a dissonant feeling of America and what it meant to be a part of this nation.

But today, November 5, 2008, brings a different kind of cardiology - hearts swirling with enthusiasm, pride and hope for a better future. A spirit of unity both at home and abroad that we hope in time, will stregthen our great nation again. A leader with poise, intelligence, thoughtfulness, curiosity, humble roots and the ability to inspire has helped us get here. I am proud of my vote, I am proud of my country and I am excited to see what awaits us all. In a single year, I married the man of my dreams and witnessed an American Dream come true. More than anything, I feel lucky today. I love my family, my husband and my country more. I am excited for the next four years and for what the American Dream might have in store for me.

"So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember... - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people." - President Elect, Barack Obama

1 comment:

Jennie! said...

What you said. I'm having trouble concentrating on anything today. Instead, I'm scouring the internet for any story about this election and what it might mean.