11.05.2008

yes we did


About midday yesterday, Wolfen forwarded me the following e-mail from a friend in New York. I have taken the liberty of lightly editing it and presenting it here.

I was up early this morning, too excited to sleep. I knew there'd be long lines at the polls, but the day is mild and sunny in NYC and it was a short walk to the 4th street and Ave A polling location. After pulling the lever, I let out a "Yeah baby!" and left the booth with a big smile on my face, beaming with the confidence that Obama would win, and send an overdue message that the Bush years were at long last over.
But as I was leaving, an elderly black woman, dressed in her Sunday best, was being helped to the door in tears. My first instinct was concern that something had happened, that perhaps she was injured or ill or had not been allowed to vote. But as we negotiated our way past the line of incoming voters, she recognized a friend, an elderly black man, dressed in a sport coat and tie. As he opened his arms to her I saw that he was choking up, too. As they embraced I heard her say "I never imagined I'd see this day," and I finally understood. She was weeping for sheer joy that a young, brilliant, respected man of color was on the ballot—one who was favored to win.
I imagined what it must’ve been like to be a black American before the civil rights movement. The segregation, the drinking fountains, the open hatred, Rosa Parks, bloody Sunday, the marches, Dr. King’s rise and assassination. . .
And in this moment, I saw the varied New York faces standing around these two lovely people, smiling with tears in their eyes, too. We were all moved. We were all feeling the magnitude of the day. We all forgot about the sometime stupidity of this long campaign. Because this campaign paled in comparison to the campaign that these two old friends, and the countless other Americans—white and black and brown and yellow—have waged awaiting this event. Sure I want Obama to win, but in many ways, regardless of the outcome, he already has. And so have we.
There is a famous political cartoon from the early 60s of two small children, one white, one black, in which the black child is saying to the other “I’ll sell you my chance of becoming President for a nickel.” Today, our country laid that sad sentiment to rest, forever.
And yes, I cried all the way home.

with love,
Dan

1 comment :

luna said...

well put!