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.