Thomas Paine:

“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Values Vote for...

...and why I'm so happy to have been wrong.

What could make a person, a Democrat who had been critical of Barack Obama, be so happy over his election, and so happy to be wrong about my fears the Republicans would steal the election again, and get away with it, again?

First, what happened in my polling booth... it was a rainy morning. I still hadn’t decided whether I would vote for Ralph or Barack. But, somehow, in that booth it occurred to me that I didn’t want to come to the end of my life and realize I hadn’t voted for the first Democratic African-American President of the United States. And so I found myself filling in the oval next to the name, Barack Obama. Was it racist, a kind of reverse Bradley effect, to vote for someone because of his race? Maybe. All I know is that the long-suffering of Blacks in America —and healing it— seemed more important to me in that booth than the recent suffering of the American people via Bush’s spy program, that Barack approved with his vote on FISA. (Which had been the last straw for me, where Obama was concerned, and what sent me running to Ralph.)

So, as to the fears: I am always happy when my fears turn out to be unfounded. In this case, because Republicans managed to cheat their way into the White House in the past two presidential elections, I had reason to believe they’d do it again. I wasn’t about to set myself up for another disappointment, where I believed the polls and simply went on faith.

Obama’s victory, while not restoring my faith in the Democratic Party, or in his intentions to make the right choices and policies —not quite yet— does restore my faith in election integrity. At least the thing works when so many people come out to vote that Rovian crimes fail. That’s something to cheer about— the restoration of least in so far as a two-party system can restore it.

Best of all, though, was the beautiful, beautiful sight of tears on faces —Jesse Jackson, Oprah, and everyday African Americans— and knowing what this moment in history means for them. Imagine the children, how being Black and being proud has come to life in a whole new way. For them, I am very, very happy, indeed.


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