The historic moment has arrived!
Barack Obama is the first Black president—the 44th—of the United States of America!
Gunfire pierces the quiet of the night outside my third-floor office windows here in Clarkston, and for once, I am not calling DeKalb’s finest. Tex messages flash across the screen of my cell phone. My friend Rika’s Florida friend is screaming and shouting her glee and jubilation at the top of her lungs. Shanice is downstairs following Election ’08 on the television, announcing the stupendous news, although I already know. And my soul is ebullient with joy.
I am in awe of the Power—to bring a white American woman and an African man together, as my sister Glenda just eloquently narrated in our celly celebration as I relax, reclined across my bed, feeling the bliss of the moment.
“That was truly an unlikely coupling,” I agreed, reflecting on another unlikely situation, Barack’s statement about his unlikely start at the beginning of the Presidential Race. But “unlikely” coupled with faith is an unstoppable, untoppable, and undroppable force. Our hero, the son of a melting pot of a union, is an iconic, a Citizen of the World, a true Renaissance Man, with ties to Africa and roots in Indonesia and Hawaii, a global force, who set a goal and walked towards it with a people at his back, to become the first Black president of a country whose presidents have traditionally been white and male. Unlikely, for sure! Here is a man, who is a harbinger of change. Here is a man, who did not accept excuses for why he couldn’t be our nation’s 44th president, a man who captured 95% of the African-American vote, 66% of the youths, 67% of the Hispanics, and 55% of women voters. Here stands a man with healing on his tongue and hope in his philosophy.
Here is Michelle’s man, our man, the BEST man qualified to stand at the helm of this country’s stern.
“Yes, we can!” Eloquent, poised, hopeful, inclusive, fearless—Obama spoke these words in his first speech as our leader. As I sat on my red sofa, eyes and ears glued to the television, I was so incredibly proud, again, of the President Elect’s oratorical genius. Truly, he empowered all Americans, saying we are more than a collection of people. We are the United States of America. I admired his “Yes, we can!” spirit in praising and pledging to work with Senator John McCain and Governor Palin for the good of the nation. I loved his admission that he was willing to listen to those whose vote he didn’t receive. “I will listen to you, especially when we disagree,” he promised. The hope of a better day, he is. A defining moment he will bring and has already brought.
His victory is the victory of America, of a government for the people, by the people. His journey, our journey, is one of possibility from the Slave Quarters to the White House. It ushers in a New Era. This being the case, I will no longer give air time to mine or other folks’ threadbare excuses of how this one keeps us down and that one barricades our entry.
Barack Obama is a testament to my belief that no one determines how high I fly except me. His victory reminds me that the Invisible is more powerful than the Visible, for the belief that he could be the President of the United States began in the vast reaches of his heartland and in the hearts of others. When thousands couldn’t see such a phenomenon, said this country wasn’t ready for a change that drastic, and guffawed at the notion that a Black family would ever take up residency in a White House, the Invisible said wait and see, have faith, speak faith, play fair, and keep moving forward with an unshakable resolve in “the endeavoring power of our ideas and democracy…and unyielding hope.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream was realized in a significant way yesterday, as it is now 3:30 a.m. on the Wednesday after Election Tuesday. The sons of slaves and slaveholders were represented in the audience in Grant Park, in Chicago, Illinois, gathered in unfathomable numbers, standing side by side, Oprah leaning on the shoulders of a white brother throughout Obama’s entire speech, her face a tapestry of ecstasy. Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s walk around the Grant Park stage, hugging and waving, greeting their supporters, was also a manifestation of King’s dream. When our new leaders kissed their beautiful wife and embraced their families and campaign rocks, black and white together, an image, for me, created a healing presence, a presage, in my soul.
“Tonight reminds me of a Langston Hughes poem,” I said to Rika.
She didn’t seem to hear. Didn’t know if I was screaming or her friend. Not to mention an upset stomach marshaled a bit of her joy.
“Wait a minute.” I knelt on the carpet, in front of my leaning bookcase, and began pulling literature books from my beloved tenure as a DeKalb County English teacher from the bottom shelf. I thumbed the large, glossy pages, until I found the page I sought. Since I didn’t get the opportunity to recite it for Rika, who disconnected in need of slumber, I share it with you this morning.
Out of the adversity of our past, out of our historical highs and lows, together we will experience a restoration of prosperity in the change that we were blessed to see yesterday. Barack is right! America can change. Yes, we can. We have proven it before; we prove it now. “Out of many,” he said, “we are one.” Our Oneness, he promised, would prevail in the long, steep journey ahead.
I am proud to be an American, and as my knee-baby sis added, “I am never more proud to be a Black American as I am now!”
God bless America and every nation across this globe; we are ONE in love, which is all there is!
An aside…and may God bless every moose and reindeer in Alaska this morning.
The Golden Goddess