Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One small step

"Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
- Andy Dufresne

I'm overcome with thoughts and emotions about this historic day, November 4, 2008. I'm so glad I was able to share it with my wife, my 7-year old daughter, and my 5-year old son. We all stayed up late to watch the results, with Tyler cheering every "point" Obama won (she's still too young for the Electoral College), and Owen finally falling asleep on the couch. The world that they will inherit just took one small step forward.

"The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."
- MLK

I bought an American flag this morning. I have always loved my country, and I have always been proud of our amazing accomplishments and disappointed when we fail to uphold our highest ideals. But I have sometimes been reluctant to fly the American flag, because the flag is a symbol, and too often it has symbolized a jingoistic nationalism, the stifling of dissent, exclusionist values, and the belief that our country is somehow morally superior by birthright. Until today. Today, at least for me, the flag represents our highest ideals. E pluribus unum, baby. Yes we can.

I know that with every step forward, there is a backlash, and there will be plenty of resistance to a center-left Democratic government led by a bi-racial president. But at least for a moment, let's revel in the fact that the arc of history just got a bit shorter.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

People like you made this possible, and today many of us non-Americans, stand in solidarity with you. We even feel a little envious that we are not you (a rare event these days. And today, we we will not feel resentful, or, afraid, or angry when we see the American flag, but know that there is more to it than the ugliness that we have been witnessing for the last 30-40 years.

Acrobat said...

Now I'm going to have to go see Shawshank again.

Yes, experiencing yesterday with friends, family and our children seemed meaningful to many of us (even if it was via cell phone at times). Our kids stayed up also.

Thank you for the MLK line. In the gym this morning I was listening to Bono quote MLK while seeing CNN replays of Obama's speech last night.

So much of it is about the fight to define & defend the symbol, no?

Eve said...

I echo your sentiments about the flag - and that unique feeling of pride in this nation, which I am experiencing for the first time. It's so affirming to have some hope again for our future! And a grain of belief in the promise of the opportunity that is offered in this country.

Great MLK quote. I woke up this morning thinking that the "I have a dream" speech has come true... and I was so elated that I wasn't dreaming when I woke up and I still heard "President Obama" being said...

joehumanist said...

Thought the same thing last night about the flag, after seeing Obama's face tightly framed in front of one.

Powerful imagery that fundamentally redefines assumptions and identity.

I haven't felt a similar solidarity in "American" identity since 9/11.