Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Is it a New Day?

I remember as a teen all the discussion among adults about the glorious years of Camelot. The short time in our country's history when a handsome youthful president and his attractive family occupied the White House. It was historic in so many ways. He was young. He was Catholic. He was from Massachusetts. I remember my mother crying the day that JFK died. But I couldn't grasp much of what was going on. I was truly a wee, wee child. All I knew was that the whole house seemed gloomy and none of the regular things that happened in our home and even on television seemed to be taking place.

I understand now more of the hope that my parents must have felt back then. I feel that hope today with an election taking place which could put the first black man in the White House. Is Obama the best candidate? I don't know. For me, he is a better candidate than John McCain. I admire McCain. He is a POW. He is a blunt and plain spoken person. He is in every sense a true patriot. There was a time when I would have voted for McCain. Unfortunately for him, that is not this year. I hope that by voting for Obama that a number of things happen.

* I hope that his presence as a leader in our country's highest office will allow other children of color to dream, to strive and to achieve this and other great goals. Our future can not and should not be predicated on having anglo european ancestry. Great minds, great visionaries are not bound by gender or color.

* I hope that his presidency will lead to a higher approval rating for our country in the world at large. I am upset by the fact that our country presently seems to feel it has the right to tell other countries what to do and how to do it. We are not one, though we all inhabit the same planet. Our needs and our solutions for those needs are often fundamentally different. Though I am grateful to live in a democratic society I honestly don't believe democracy is the answer for everyone. Democracy is hard. It requires a level of participation and of education that isn't possible in every situation. There are situations where other forms of government provide well for their constituants.

* I hope that President Obama will work more actively than I think a President McCain would, to end our military involvement in Iraq. I see no way for us to win this in the long term sense. I feel that we entered the situation under false pretenses (those infamous WMDs) and without fully understanding a culture so different from our own. As a mom of 3 boys, I don't want to see a draft where my babies are required to serve in a war I don't believe in. McCain has indicated a tentative openness to restoring the draft if needed. I know recruitment levels are down. It was enough to make me refuse to vote for him even if I wasn't supporting Obama.

Two weeks ago when I was at our local library an older African American gentleman saw me there with 3 of our 4 kids. I noticed him eyeing us in the library but was a bit too busy with the children to do more than smile at him. Part of me wondered what he was thinking. Black children raised by white people are a hot button topic for some people of color. The majority of people I meet respond positively but there are always a few who don't. Anyway, at the end of our library visit I was pushing our double stroller out to the car while attempting to carry one of the two bags filled with books which are a standard for our library visits. We are a family of active readers. Rob was with me, carrying the other equally heavy bag. As we approached the car the same gentleman was there, and it turned out that he was parked next to us. I smiled and said good morning as I loaded books and children into the van. He smiled back and said "are these future Obamas?" I smiled more widely and said I certainly hoped so. He said something about how good that was and how beautiful the children were and drove away.

I want that for my children. I want them to know they can reach high, dream big, and live largely and well.

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