Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Free at last

I must admit to having cried last night when Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States.

Part of it was jubilation, the sort of feeling prevalent in Eastern Europe back in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came crashing down. As Marilyn said, it feels like we have finally gotten rid of the Ceausescus. That big crowd in front of the White House may as well have been carrying pitchforks.

But the big reason, the one that actually set me to sobbing, was t
he fact that my country has elected a black man, chosen a leader not for the color of his skin but rather for the content of his character. He will be the head of state, but he will be more than that: like all presidents, he is a symbol of the nation he leads. We do not have a royal family here, but we do have a first family, and they are Barack and Michelle, Sasha and Malia, and a puppy as yet to be named.

Oh, how far we've come.

Racism has always been a part of American life. Our very Constitution established that for census purposes “non-free” residents should count as three-fifths of a person. The Civil War may have ended slavery, but for at least a century afterwards we were enslaved by bigotry. Blacks have been lynched, denied the right to vote, denied educational and economic opportunity, denied the right to ride in the front of the bus. I am not all that old, but I am old enough to remember the events of the 1960s -- the fire hoses, the at
tack dogs, the murders of Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. and others -- black and white -- who laid their lives on the line to put an end to this madness.

And then, last night, Americans did something that signified in a profound way that we have changed, that we have become something different, that we have become something better than we were. There was something almost effortless about it, until we remember all the sacrifices it took to get here.

Those racists who were responsible for the Jim Crow laws, for the
murders in the middle of the night, are no doubt spinning in their graves right now, working their way ever closer to Hell. Those who are still with us, who just can’t stand the idea of a black man as their leader, as their national symbol, have some waking up to do.

I saw a pickup truck recently with a Confederate flag sticker and the words “Kick Ass White Boy” written above it. Next to it was a big American flag. Well, Kick Ass White Boy just got his ass kicked. And I’ll take those Stars and Stripes back, thank you. They belong to a country that is bigger, grander, wiser, and more diverse than it o
nce ever dreamed it could be.

This is the America I love, the one that shows it is, in ways, the Promised Land. It has not been all that many years since Dr. King spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I remember hearing his speech as a kid, and his thrilling words have never rung truer than they do right now:

“And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"


Carl said...

Yes indeed, great news!

We're looking for great things from Barack.

Yes, we did it. And, when it comes to the challenges of the next few years, yes we can!


Anonymous said...

I hope you cry appropriately when your taxes go up, and your health care is ruined.

You have hopes of living longer with modern drugs. Forget about it. Just research NICE in the UK to see how they handle new, life-saving drugs.

The money to pay for your CLL drugs will now go to pay for illegal alien's health care and more welfare for those who don't work.

I was not a fan of McCain. He was not a conservative, but at least he was strong on the war and on earmarks and pork.

I note that this election is the end of public financing of presidential races, which is really too bad (don't you think, David?)

It also points out the power of the mainstream media, the government-propaganda school system, and academia.

America has been declining for years now. The pace is now more rapid. Our standard of living will be further and further eroded.

None of us will be joyful when socialized medicine ruins the best health care system in the world.

I blame people such as you.

(And spare me the 'we shall overcome' stuff. Blacks have been successful in business, politics and everywhere else for decades.)

Pat said...

David, you did not weep alone. I found a well-spring of tears that came with the decision and continued on throughout Obama's wonderful and uplifting speech.

In the days leading up to the election, I heard one pundit say he felt like 'pre-christmas'. Not I. I felt like the eve of report card day when I was, say 10 or 11. Jittery. Hopeful but skeptical. I wanted this decision but I just couldn't believe in it - or rather, couldn't believe that the electorate would be smart, could rise above our history of racism. could rise above the millions of fearful, hate-filled, mean-spirited, divisive words spouted during the campaign.

But we did. We surely did. And I am a proud American today.

I came late to my enthusiasm for Obama. I couldn't support the continuation of the Bush/Clinton dynasties. Edwards was a fall-back. But as the months went by I saw (what others already believed)that Obama had the ability to lift our spirits: that he had a vision based on goodness and generosity. And I believed.

These are extraordinary times. President Obama is a man of extraordinary heart and mind and vision. And I do believe. And, yes, the tears still come.

Anonymous said...

"None of us will be joyful when socialized medicine ruins the best health care system in the world."

I knew it wouldn't take you long to show up, Anon. By every objective measure of health care (life span, infant mortality rate, health-care dollars spent per capita, etc.) we are far down the list of developed countries. Once again you prove that you are all emotion and no knowledge. Kind of like Sarah.

Your old friend,

Anonymous said...

I, too, was happy to see a black person elected to such a high office, but as a prior commenter pointed out, blacks have already enjoyed success in many fields for decades and no one can seriously question their innate abilities.

My concern is exactly WHO is the man that was elected. His handlers ran a magnificent campaign, but no one really knows where he stands on most issues and i DO wonder what he was doing for 20 years lisevning to the unhelpful vitriol spewed forth by the REVerand (?) Wright?

He appears to be a socialist. For those at the bottom of the heap this has great appeal. For those in the middle...BEWARE!!!

The cynical advertising used to trump his tax cut proposals and attacks on McCain's plan to approach healthcare (McCain's campaign admittedly did a very poor job of explaining things) portend trouble for most of us.

This is a man who admits that he "owes" the unions. Is the use of a "card check" system American Democracy at work, or more the work of demagogs?

Will forced unionization help or harm more people? Is the plan to help detroit by forcing Toyota and Honda to be less competitive in the US via forced unionization?

I agree that too much tinkering with a bureaucratic healthcare system will likely make the use of specialized drugs and treatments such as HSCT LESS available to people like David, not more available as he believes.

MORE TO THE POINT...we should all start working together, not against each other. If that is Obama's true vision, things will improve. I just happen to have my doubts.

two recent OpEd pieces (one in last sunday's NY Times reflecting how 5 different people will remember our departing president and one yesterday in the WSJ (written by a former John Kerry campaign worker)nshould be read by all, especially the latter, which points out how dignified the President has been through it all despite the moronic treatment received by the American press and worse by the American people. Until we respect our leaders (even if we disagree with them) how can we expect the world to respect us?

I intend to respect Mr. Obama, even though I feel his term in office will be disastarous for the course of America as we have known it!

Pat said...

Just who are you anonymous 1, 2, and 3? And why not disclose your true identity?

Anonymous said...

I am the last "anonymous' and my identity is mine to keep. What does it matter anyway, as I am only expressing my own opinions.

I did learn an interesting fact yesterday that i will share. that is, Mr. Obama's total in the popular vote exceeded that of george W
's in 2004 by only approximately 400,000. given the fact that so many people voted for the first time (Donovan Mcnabb, for example) it is reasonable to assume that at least 1 million (if not many more) voters were voting specifically because mr. Obama is a young, appealing black man (very understandable as a matter of "black pride" or hope or whatever). To my thinking that suggests that many Republican voters was disenchanted either with the party, McCain, Palin or all 3 and didn't bother to vote.

As I said yesterday, I am concerned about a socialist agenda, but intend to afford the new president the respect that he deserves, which is something that (shamefully) the Hollywood elite, leftist chic crowd and the press did not do for the last president.

Remember...America has not been attacked since 9/11 and Irag (which a year ago figured to be a major campaign issue) is much less of an issue, having been slammed by the economic tsunami that is still in progree. if the new administration doesn't mess it up, we will be left with a democratic ally in the middle east just across the way from Iran, despite all of the errors made by the last administration!

Anonymous said...

Please review the non-valid statistics concluding that the US offers the worst health care in the universe.

Does France have large rural areas that are not well served by ambulance? Does England have a huge illegal immigrant population that does not practice preventative care?

The WHO is notoriously liberal, and lives to make capitalism look bad.

Another point to remember, is that infant mortality is calculated differently in different countries. For example, a baby in Japan is not counted a live birth if it is moving, but does not draw a breath. That is not the case in the US.

Just be careful to look studies before you blindly cite them.

Me, I cry for the babies that will be killed by Obama's attitude, such as those who survive a botched abortion is not to be offered medical care, but just dumped in the trash, alive.

I cry for the babies, not for pampered Obama.

Anonymous said...

My latest bumpersticker:

I'm surviving the Obama Depression.

As you know, the market doesn't like Obama, and has dropped almost steadily since the disputed election (many dead people still voting).

But I guess the ends justify the means, right?

David Arenson said...

Disputed election?

Obama Depression?


Your bumper sticker should say:

"Warning: Driver may have his head up his ass."