I had spent the entire hour on the train-ride home trying to think of what I might say, knowing how likely it would be that Barack Obama would be the next president. I found I wrote about my misgivings, echoed by others, that he was not as progressive as he sounded, that he would continue to move to the right in an effort to “bring the country together.” I came home and ate my dinner and watched both CNN and CBC (the national Canadian channel), read what Shakesville had to say and what my friend Heart had to say.
I had just finished reading this post of Heart’s, commented to it, looked up and there it was: CNN with a giant banner saying “Barack Obama: President-Elect.” And I just started to weep.
I’ve never, in my 40+ years, ever wept at an election before. The closest I’ve come is getting misty-eyed watching Hillary Clinton in the primaries, and on stage at the DNC last August. I’m cynical as all hell. I’m Canadian! We don’t fall in love with our politicians. We don’t expect them to be John Wayne or James Bond or something. We rather expect good bureaucrats, I think. We often get them. I rooted for Clinton during the primaries too, and have deep concerns about Obama’s tendencies to move to the right. I’m not all riding the Hope-y/Change-y pony, yanno?
But this is really huge, this electing of a biracial, African-American president. Only 50-odd years ago, People of Colour lived in conditions akin to pre-war Nazi Germany. Anne Moody, in daring to sit at a lunch counter with white people knew that if the next morning she read of a murder occurring in her home town, that it would be a member of her family. Just in looking for a picture of Obama this very evening to go with this post lead to me to many racist shite images. America has deep deep problems with its racism, there is no doubt.
Canadians, I believe, have often looked south with some shock at the level of racism there (being completely blind to the racism here, mostly towards Aboriginal people). I’ve always believed, as have many other Canadians I’ve spoken to, that America would elect a white woman before you would elect a black person of either gender, most likely a black woman last of all, because of that level of racism (and sexism).
While a lot can be said about sexism in American politics this year, I’m not going to go into it. This moment is for Barack Obama. This moment is for Americans of Colour. This moment is for America in total.
Congratulations President Obama, congratulations Americans of Colour. Goddess bless and Ceiling Cat protect you all.
*Update: people are in the streets, all over the country. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Did I just not notice? Amazing!