Today is huge. Huge like as in having the potential to be one of those days where no matter how much time has passed, you can still smell the air, feel your pulse, and hear your thoughts as the words “Crashed into the World Trade Tower”, “President Regan just got shot”, or “Space shuttle Challenger blew up” make their way from your ears, through your mind, to your heart. For generations before, it might be equivalent to Kennedy’s assassination, or MLK’s, or maybe Pearl Harbor. It’s one of those days that changes the course of history; a day where normal life is suspended as it pivots on the news.
Today will be the day we elect or fail to elect a black (bi-racial) president. And today will be the day that this country reacts to that news.
I am scared today.
I don’t know if our country is ready for this. Before you have me in a white hood, I don’t mean a black president, because yes, we are ready for a black president. It’s the other stuff that concerns me. The racial debate that has been largely dormant for the last decade or two, will now coalesce with the political, social, and religious debate of our day.
What happens if I overhear one of the old men from the corner booth of Dunkin Donuts say something racially offensive to his buddies while I’m in line for an iced coffee? Lord help me, I might sick medieval on their buttocks. I honestly don’t know if I could restrain myself if I overheard someone making a racist comment in earshot of my kids. That’s when Jesus would just have to step in and take over, ‘cause nobody puts Baby in a corner. Oops, Dirty Dancing flashback, I mean, nobody insults my babies from the corner.
I view my little multicultural family as a microcosm of the United States. I’m not going to go into the various groups represented, because someone could easily be offended, but trust me, we’ve got it all. Since the presidential race began I have been in more racial and political debates than I care to mention. My husband called me a racist two weeks ago. My MIL and I were debating (loudly) about issues on Sunday. It’s been insane. Dirt and I finally had to agree to disagree on matters of race and politics…and we LOVE each other. We’re not ready to have this discussion.
I believe that there will be a small population that will react poorly to whatever today's outcome is. I call this group, "The Ignorant 8". The problem is that this 8% will receive all sorts of media coverage with their post-election antics. This will then spread the perception that the views of the ignorant 8 are the views of the majority, which they are not.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s acknowledge that racism exists. We’ve all seen it on TV over the last few weeks with the ignorant of the ignorant making comments like, “I ain’t gonna vote for Bahama cause he’s an A-Rab”. But can we please acknowledge that the racists are not the majority? Can we please acknowledge that the ignorant aren’t in positions of high esteem or authority in our society? Can we please acknowledge that every single individual in this country has the opportunity to achieve their own success?
My brother overheard two old guys at the landfill say, “if we elect a black president we’re all gonna have to start talking black”. But really, what impact do these two idiots have? Um, black isn’t a language and Barack is about a million times more eloquent than the current president. The bottom line is that these two geezers work at the town landfill and are already defying the lifespan of the average American male. I suspect they won’t be around for a 2nd term. They are powerless. My 9 year old biracial son wields more influence as the elected student council for his class.
So here’s the skinny, I’m a Republican and I voted for Obama today. I let Avery decide who I would cast my vote for (deep down, I knew he’d choose Obama - it’s a biracial thing). I actually felt surprisingly good (like really good) about my vote. “Surprisingly” because I really do align myself with the Republican ideology, and I thought it would feel icky to vote for a candidate who is so completely left. I can honestly say that I don’t agree with 90% of Obama’s planned policies and I suspect that I’ll suffer a negative personal financial impact under his tax plan. However, I did cleanse myself by voting straight Republican down the rest of the ticket.
The bottom line is that I voted for Obama because I want a black (biracial) president. I want my children to look up to a president that looks like them; I want them to know that their skin color is not a barrier (as Jesse Effin Jackson and the NAACP would want them to believe), I want other countries to see that we aren’t "dumb Americans", because we’ve finally voted an intellect into office; and I can’t shake the notion that a country who collectively decides to make a black (biracial) man the most powerful in all the land, is no longer plagued with mainstream racism.
So, hang on boys and girls, we’re about to embark on an interesting ride.