Wednesday, November 5, 2008
A New Day
I woke up this morning, and it felt like something fundamental in my world had shifted. Something had shifted toward optimism, toward renewal and healing, toward humility and gratitude, toward shared responsibility and the chance to try. My country made me so proud last night. Together, we elected our first President of color, and not just because he was a candidate of color, but because we feel he's the best man for the job. To me, that is the only reason to elect someone, but I recognize that voting for a black man took alot of people out of their comfort zones. And, yet, they did it anyway. How could I not be proud and humbled but such an act after eight years of sadness, fear, and marginalization?
I am full of hope and excitement for what the future will bring. I know it's not going to happen in a day or a year of days, but this is the first step toward reclaiming our country. We will start to build bridges around the globe rather than stockades and our children will be safer for it. We will value health and its care as a right rather than a commodity. We will cherish education for everything it offers our people as individuals and as a nation and not see it as a privilege of a very privileged few. Most of all, we will all work together and not expect a handout because a helping hand was not possible before. Please, let the motivation of election day last in my people. Don't let that fire, that drive, or that feeling of power die! Yes We Can now needs to be Yes We Will! We've made a promise with our votes; let's keep it.
On a different note, I was taking my son to school this morning, and I saw something that I haven't seen in about five years: fall color. Normally South Carolina experiences the change of season as a subtle, slow show of little note. This morning, though not the vibrant riot of color I'm used to in West Virginia, the trees lining the road to my son's school were a carnival of hue and shade. The cold snap we've been experiencing is bringing the color out. This morning, of all mornings, it seems to reflect the subdued hope in my heart, the longing for a better day and a better leader, the hopeful reservation that believes, yet understands the humanity involved. Like the trees here, it seems as a country we needed to experience the cold snap of hardship to really shine. Let me tell you, it was a beautiful morning.
(The tree shown above is typical of the trees we see here and is always of the most vibrant. They've always been here, always this bright in the fall, but until the trees around it took on color, too, they were the lone messengers of change.)