Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Awestruck

I'm only just now, as President-Elect Barack Obama prepares to make his victory speech, beginning to relax emotionally, and realizing how very beaten-down and pessimistic I have felt for the last eight years, particularly the last four. Deep down, I really didn't believe this could happen--that the incumbent power would ALLOW it to happen. That we could have, for a blessed change, a voice of compassion, kindness, and thoughtful intelligence in the White House once more. I honestly believed it would be taken from us, yet again...that Americans would succumb to the campaign of fear, separatism, and bigotry that's been playing out all over the country. Even as I type this, I'm still thinking of the possibility of the "official" results changing after I post this entry.

On a personal level, for the last eight years, I've had a gutful of having my faith hijacked by a party of hatred and division, people flying the "Christian" banner while displaying behavior so un-Christ-like that it seemed at times they must be reading some Bizarro World version of the New Testament. And yes, abortion = bad. Very bad. But there are OTHER BAD THINGS IN THE WORLD. And not being afraid of The Gay does put me in a minority as a Southern Baptist, but so be it. I'd rather keep company with a tolerant and loving Jesus than, oh, I dunno...Pat Buchanan.

I let Bella stay up until the major swing-states were called. To get her to go to bed, I had to promise to TiVo Obama's acceptance speech. I could not believe how interested and engaged she was in the whole process. She was listening to the reports, and reading the "crawl" along the bottom of the screen, shouting out each new posting of electoral votes. I hope that this is something she remembers for the rest of her life, because she experienced history in the making. When I voted, she watched, and pushed the final button that cast my ballot for Obama--for hope instead of fear. Hope for HER.

I've been afraid to let myself hope that this could really happen. That maybe America can return to a place where we will not be hated globally. That we can move FORWARD for a change, and do good instead of just looking out for number one. That our "two Americas" can get back to being the One America that it was before the politics of fear and divisiveness choked the hope and charity out of her. That, perhaps, Bella's generation will one day be known as "the greatest generation." Lord knows we're due for one.

I love my Republican friends and family. That has never changed. But, guys? You've had eight years of having things your way, and you have to admit, it's just gotten worse and worse. At this point, even if Obama pulled a Carter, we would still be moving in the right direction for the future, because another correction would be bound to occur.

Signing off now to give my full attention to the best speech I could possibly have hoped for, with this thought, borrowed tonight from my Republican friend Mandajuice, who was truly happy for her Democrat friends this evening, and has shown remarkable grace throughout this difficult election process:

RED OR BLUE, I LOVE YOU.

Now, let's do this thing. TOGETHER. Let's get purple, people.

25 comments:

  1. Wow, Belinda. I did not know you were also a Believer (NO OFFENSE. JUST CLUELESS.)

    I am SO in the middle politically...I hope that Obama is what America needs.

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  2. I thought of you when Arkansas was called...knew it wasn't what you'd vote.

    I took Alan in the booth with me. He did push a few x's and helped me with the recording button. May he and Bella remember this election and be witness to many good things to come!

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  3. I'm so proud of you guys, all my good American friends, tonight. Thanks.

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  4. Angella--Yep, I've written about my faith here often; a lot more than I've written about my politics! On the face, they don't seem to go together, but whenever I study The Sermon on the Mount, it's a perfect fit. :-)

    Leslie--NJ was the first return we heard, and I hollered, "Way to go, Leslie!" Not that there was much doubt for you guys, huh? I have a feeling that Arkansas was a lot closer than predicted, but our electorate tends to be easily frightened about abortion and gay marriage, to the exclusion of just about everything else. No use pointing out that with good (NOT "abstinence only") sex ed. and strong social support and education, abortion and teen pregnancy rates tend to drop, and definitely no use even talking about homosexuals as if they deserve the basic human rights that t hose of us lucky enough to be born (or, you know, CHOOSE to be, /sarcasm) hetero enjoy.

    andrea--Does this mean that now, if we can ever afford to travel internationally, we can stop pretending to be Canadian to keep from getting spit on? ;-)

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  5. Just surfing around and saw your blog. You expressed my own feelings perfectly. Happy Election Day!!!

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  6. Amen!

    I'm ready for some purple cooperation! (Not that it will happen in Alaska, that would just be too much to ask. But I remain hopeful...)

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  7. "On the face, they don't seem to go together, but whenever I study The Sermon on the Mount, it's a perfect fit. :-)"

    I knew there was a reason we always get one another... TSOTM is one of my favorites, too. Notice how Christ never calls on his followers to be anti-gay, but instead tells them not to divorce? Interesting how these days so much attention is made to one argument over the other, yet these are actually Christ's words. We accept divorce as a part of modern life, but not homosexuality? Always interesting to think about.

    HEY! Barack won! The weight has been lifted and the grey clouds are clearing again. It is a beautiful time to be an American!

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  8. And an absolutely stirring speech he gave, so much that many times I had goosebumps!

    Here's to CHANGE! (Yes, we CAN!)

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  9. Great post. I really didn't think it could happen either, but I am SO HAPPY that it did.

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  10. Purple... YES!!

    ~Tracy~

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  11. I, too was so relieved that I cried. I wasn't sure if it was really going to happen. I thought if it was a close race that it would be stolen or something. Today i woke up feeling so full of hope for the future. that's priceless.

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  12. I am so happy to be alive and American at this momentous time.

    Purple is my *other* favorite color.

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  13. Oh, I loved this post! What a generous voice and heart you have. I wish that all of the Republicans would follow the gracious tone that McCain set.

    It is just too easy to think a lot of bad things about that red state Arkansas, and I'm so happy that you turn all of those ugly generalizations and stereotypes on their head!

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  14. sue--Back atcha!

    flutter--Heck, here's to ALLOWING myself to hope!

    erin--I still love Alaska. I mean, it's brought me YOU, so there must be a whole lot of good there!

    mim--thanks, sweets.

    laurie, you crazy quacker. I love you. And of course, you are exactly right about TSOTM and the divorce angle. Christians have NO BETTER a divorce rate than non-Christians, demographically. Shouldn't that tell us to start working on the beams in our own eyes? And while we're at it, what about the REST of that oft-quoted Leviticus passage about homosexuality...the part that calls for stoning adulterers to death? Haven't seen one of those lately, have you?

    julie--yes, we DID!

    bea--Now that it's the next day, I'm starting to believe it. ;-)

    Tracy--poiple is goooooood.

    dawn--I got choked up several times during the speech, but I didn't actually cry until I said aloud, "I wish his grandmother could see this."

    SJ--preach on, sister.

    Rhi...in PURPLE! ;-)

    bee--it's especially painful for me, since I live here and see firsthand that this state is populated, for the most part, with kind, generous, compassionate people. We don't have much (one of the poorest states in the nation), but we share what we do have VERY readily. Unfortunately, we're not, as a population, very well educated, and that shows during elections, as it does the country over. It always breaks my heart to see how the red/blue breaks down into higher/lower levels of education (on average--there are major exceptions among individuals, of course). There--THAT should get me some hate mail.

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  15. Belinda

    No hate mail from here!

    You are bang on, I think, about the importance of education. It helps to develop an open minded tolerance for differences and embracing those differences as valuable components to society. Things seem to be moving on track in the US.

    I was so very excited and happy to be able to witness this truly wonderful happening. Barak Obama's election as the President of the United States will be talked about in centuries when we are all long gone. That is the best.!!!

    Alice in Sambro, NS

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  16. "I love my Republican friends and family. That has never changed. But, guys? You've had eight years of having things your way, and you have to admit, it's just gotten worse and worse."

    I love this comment! It is spot on! I am so happy today, but I still feel a little like I should pinch myself.

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  17. Well, I AM perplexed. The post today was troubling to me. I heard the women of the View tv show shouting Elisabeth Hasselbeck down yesterday as she attempted to ask why it was wrong to question the judgement of someone who would sit 20 yrs. under the Rev. Wright as he spouted hate and intolerance. The irrepressible, rude Joy Behar said that he could say whatever he wanted and it was ok because it was part of the culture in black churches? Really??? I find that incredulous and convoluted logic. They would not let Elisabeth talk--they all ganged up on her -it was shameful and they are shameless. For one, I hope Obama is not who I think he is, and it has nothing to do with race. The prediction is that he will try to quiet talk radio - and I'm talking about the right to dissent under the guise of fairness and equal time - If that does come to pass, you will know ...Just sayin - watch

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  18. Nice post, go purple! I'm thrilled Obama won but also about something else.

    After me and my boyfriend watched the election, he proposed to me with a gorgeous diamond engagement ring from www.idonowidont.com so I went from going Yes We Can to soon saying I Do.

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  19. I love that she is smart enough to read the results and mature enough to understand them! Yes, the future of the country belongs to Bella and her generation. From what I see in her and in so many of my students, the nation will be in good hands.
    (Now get your hands off my retirement fund, young whippersnappers!)

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  20. It was a great day for all of America. I, too, am still a little in shock. Pleased, but in shock. Like it can't be real. Someone is still going to say "oh, we found this TRUCKLOAD of ballots that weren't counted, and John McCain has won." It is a remarkable feeling. Line Charlie Brown finally got to kick the football and now we don't quite know what to do with ourselves.
    Found you while poking around the NaBloPoMo site and dropped in for a visit. Nice site.

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  21. Thank you for putting all of that into words, Belinda. The people in the middle have been talked-over and walked-over for so long, that I believe they (we) just stopped trying to be heard. Some silence from either of the extremes would be a welcome reprieve for my ears.

    Again, thanks. And thanks for not being afraid of ME. I'm really harmless.....

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