Sweet victory: confessions of a happy liberal

I wanted to provide a cartoon this week, instead of a column.My boss said it was a no go.

But here is what it would have looked like: a stick figure (labeled “Lucas”) raising the roof for five or so frames.

Why am I raising the roof? President Elect Barack Hussein Obama. Yes, we can. In fact, we did.

I know that I’m in the minority on this issue here at Tech. So, I’m sorry for gloating. I honestly hope that everyone comes around to our soon-to-be leader.

During the last week before the election, I found myself watching and re-watching a youtube video of Obama’s speech in Boulder two weekends ago. There was passage I particularly liked: raising his voice, hitting the climax of his speech, Obama said “It may look dark tonight, but if I hold on to hope, tomorrow may be brighter.”

Honestly, I think the Boulder speech trumped Obama’s acceptance speech last night. And, I don’t mind admitting, each time he hit that line, I teared up.

So, we will soon have our first black president. And, for the first time in eight years, I can honestly say I’m proud to be an American.

The notion that Obama’s skin color positively affecting potential voters might be “racist” irritates the Hell out of me. Forty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, TN.

Forty years.

I’m nearing thirty at what feels like lightning speed. I’m beginning to notice gray patches in the mirror. Forty years is nothing.

Those who believe that white Americans have somehow atoned for the racist past of our country over the last forty years by providing (basically) equal rights to black Americans seems ludicrous to me. Desegregation was an important step, but it did not exonerate white Americans for hundreds of years of oppression. Discrimination occurs constantly in our country, and it isn’t going to stop any time soon. Even with Obama as president.

Now, however, at least white Americans can point to our soon-to-be black leader and say, in all honesty, “yes you can.” I said it many times last night, in choral response with friends as we watched Obama’s acceptance speech.

Later, drinking a Budweiser (yes, I know they sold out to a Belgian corporation, but Bud still symbolizes America to me) and watching TV, I said “I’m proud to be an American” aloud for the first time in my adult life.

I’m sure my lack of patriotism might very well make your skin crawl. Frankly, I don’t care. I never said I didn’t love my country. I just never told her I was proud.

Have you never been ashamed of someone you loved? Try asking one of my ex-girlfriends that question, and you’ll see what I mean.

My father never told me he was proud of me until I started Grad school. Often, I believe we hold those we love to a higher standard.

I’m not ashamed of my country any more. And I don’t think I’m the only one

Of course, I woke the next morning to a world seemingly unchanged. Lollipops weren’t sprouting up in my front yard. My lesson plans hadn’t magically written themselves. And my head felt like I’d spent some time last night hopping onto my coffee table and swan-diving into my hardwood floor.

Perhaps I did.things got a bit fuzzy.

Next week, I’ll resume my duty sharing insight on how my readers can become more active in progressive causes. But, for now, I’m basking in the warm light of hope. I’m staring at the rainbow pouring down on our nation, casting a gentle glow on the beauty of our differences. We, as Americans, are radiant today. And, with any luck, that light will keep shining for the next four years, at least.

“It may look dark tonight, but if I hold on to hope, tomorrow may be brighter.”

I’ll keep an eye out each coming morning. At the very least, I can count on not being hung over tomorrow. The celebration is over, and it is time to move forward, America.

The times ahead are hard. Despite the optimism both parties are forcing on us, the economic crisis is far from over. My father keeps warning me that “they” aren’t telling us the half of it. Thus, Obama’s presidency will be hard. But I intend on standing by him, and what he represents. And there is no one I would rather have as our leader.

And-I have to say it-I’m also stoked not to have to listen to Governor Sarah Palin anymore. I can’t express how glad I am to find Americans weren’t buying the close-minded garbage Palin was selling. I encourage her to go back to Alaska and leave the rest of America alone. I’m sure she has a plan to deal with the frustration of losing the election.

God help the moose.

See you next time, comrades. Ha. Just kidding.