I am a progressive liberal because I was taught to have compassion...

"A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs, who, however, has never learned to walk forward.
A liberal is a man who uses his legs and his hands at the behest ... of his head." - Franklin D Roosevelt

Thursday, March 8, 2012

2012 Presidential Election: Voting For Obama, Remember What It Felt Like?

Romney and the conservatives (note the distinction?) would have you believe America is in decline.  That our nation is on the brink of disaster, and that it's all President Barack Obama's fault.  Don't believe it.

DO believe this is an on-going attack on the hopes and dreams of Americans.  And why not?  It was the then Senator Barack Obama's message of hope that inspired us to believe America was still great and that we could fix what was wrong with America.  And so if we continued to be inspired, have hope, and believe things can change for the better, this presents a threat to the status quo the "right" wants to maintain.

I recently was feeling discouraged about the prospects of the 2012 election, but then began to remember what it felt like to be inspired and vote for Barack Obama...here's (hear) my tale.  I hope it (re)inspires you:

Remember what it felt like?  As an African-American, I remember compulsively watching every piece of news, every debate, every speech – from announcing his candidacy in 2007, to another rally in Springfield, Illinois announcing Joe Biden as his Vice-Presidential running mate, up to election night in November 2008.   

Remember what it felt like for you?  For me, I remember that I felt pride.  And at the risk of suffering the same criticism as Michelle Obama, I was really proud to be an American, and prouder still to be black.  Because for me (and other African-Americans, I assume), election night 2008 was the culmination of my father’s dreams realized.  And his father’s dreams.  And on and on.  Not JUST because the United States of America had elected a man of color to the highest office of the land, but because of the hope that reaching this pinnacle meant a new era where everyone would get a fair shake.

Remember what it felt like?  For me, I scheduled that day, election day, off from work and awoke that day tingling with anticipation and fear.  Fixing a cup of coffee before my shower, I turned on the tv for any advance news of the election, then took my shower and got ready to leave to head to the polling place.

(image is property of @G_Stevens and ProgressivePeorian.blogspot.com - all rights reserved)

As I walked out to my car, I realized it was early.  Too early for the polls to be open yet.  But I was so anxious, I had to get started anyway.  I double checked to make sure I had my driver’s license, voter’s registration and social security cards ( I would not be denied this historic vote) got in my car and headed up to Grand View Drive to watch the sunrise…I felt it was the dawn of a new era.  

(image is property of @G_Stevens and ProgressivePeorian.blogspot.com - all rights reserved)

Yes, I remember exactly what it felt like.  Do you?

I stood in line at the polling location with other Americans – older and younger Americans, white and black Americans, male and female.  That day, I felt a kinsman-ship with all of them.   

(image is property of @G_Stevens and ProgressivePeorian.blogspot.com - all rights reserved)

Once I got into the booth, I almost trembled with anticipation as I cast my vote.  

(image is property of @G_Stevens and ProgressivePeorian.blogspot.com - all rights reserved)

And on my way back to my car, I smiled and nodded or said hello to my fellow Peorians who were outside waiting to cast their vote too.  I had made a difference.  I was one of 63,700,000 Americans who had voted for Barack Obama.

(image is property of @G_Stevens and ProgressivePeorian.blogspot.com - all rights reserved)

All day long I watched all 3 cable news outlets and by 4 or 5pm, returns started coming in.  And when MSNBC finally announced victory for Barack Obama, I cried.  I thought of my father.  And his father.  And I cried.   

I saw Jessie Jackson standing alone in crowd of millions crying, and I cried some more.

(image hosted by thewellversed.com)

What about you?  How did that night make you feel?

Weeks after that historic moment, the hope began to fade away as Republicans and their pundits continued their all out assault on Barack Obama and Democrats in the midst of our national financial crisis.  The “swearing in” screw-up by a Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr., only fed the rantings of NEO-CONS that Obama wasn’t really President.  Add Sen. Mitch McConnell’spronouncement that his PRIORITY in the U.S. Senate was to make President Obama a one-term President and the utter lack of legislative cooperation, attacks by the Tea Party...I began to forget that feeling of hope.
But you know what?  I feel that flicker…that glimmer, that spark.  Things still CAN change.  And - if you and I don’t recall what it felt like to feel inspired, to feel hope, we are doomed.  Doomed to more racism, sexism, more giving breaks to the rich, more having our voices stifled in favor of corporations and Wall Street.

Remember what it felt like in 2008?  Hold on to those feelings, re-visit them, share them, and let’s work to get those feelings of hope for a better America back – RE-ELECT PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for the comment! I will review and allow or deny depending on its content soon.