Sunday, November 2, 2008

This Train

This is absurd. I don't believe I have ever felt quite like this. I am way too old and cynical and I have been disappointed too many times to be sitting here reading election polling with tears of joy running down my face.
The first time I was moved like this was when I was twelve years old. I was sitting in front of the television watching Rev. Martin Luther King Jr's," I Have a Dream " speech on TV. It was 1963. A light went on in my little middle school brain and changed me forever. I wanted to be at that march more than anything else. In 1968 , just a couple of months after King was murdered, I went to the Poor People's Campaign March on Washington and experienced the great joy of working with so many people for a common cause. I've been involved, one way or another, in one kind of civil rights struggle or another, ever since. Sometimes my involvement has been nothing more than writing letters to the local paper while raising my kids up to believe what their father and I believe so deeply. Other times,It's been a deeper involvement, sometimes, in my youth, to the point where I would burn out and be overwhelmed by hopelessness and have to step back for a while. The need to be involved has always been there .I don't feel right unless I am doing something, no matter how small, to help folks out who aren't as lucky as I am. My parents had a lot to do with that, of course, but that speech in Washington DC in 1963 formed a great deal of my life. It's astounding how one man or woman can have that kind of effect on someone so far away and so small.
For the past few months I have been involved, joyfully involved, in Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency. I have no unrealistic expectations about what a president of this mess we call a nation can accomplish, but I do know that the most important thing a leader can do is affect someone the way Martin Luther King affected me when I was twelve years old. Obama has already done that. Obama has made that connection. I see it in the faces of the kids who volunteer with us. I see it in the faces of African Americans who are surprised by joy. I see it in the already long lines of folks voting who never thought they had a reason to vote before. And somehow, by some strange perfect storm of events,Barack Obama is about to get elected president. I never thought I would see this happen in my lifetime. Never. The national tragedy that is racism is so strong in our collective American soul. We are such a young country but I think we may be about to grow up.
We have one full day left until election day. If he wins I will be drinking champagne and probably crying a lot. If he loses I will probably be drinking something stronger and yelling, like Liam Neeson in Schindler's List," I should have done more! I should have done more!!!" I am betting on the first scenario. But still... I should have done more. This isn't an end , it is just an exclamation point, a moment to sit back and say, "hey, something good just happened!" and celebrate for a bit before getting back on the train.
And this train...this train carries everyone.

6 comments:

only a movie said...

I'll be crying either way.
But I think we'll win. This is so cool. Thanks for a lovely post.

Cristin said...

~chills~

Loved this!

Are you sure you and my mother have the same parents???

crone51 said...

You got me. I never felt related to any of 'em actually. Perhaps I really am from Gallifrey.

Rhea said...

Hi, Cristin's aunt! Nice to meet you! I'm a big fan of Cristin's blog.

It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow!! I'm very excited.

crone51 said...

Thank you Rhea! Cristin is the coolest and one of my favorite writers. Drop in any old time!

crone51 said...
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