November 5, 2008

Yes, We Can

A post in which I blah blah blah about politics. And then never speak of it again.

Before I begin, I must say that until this point, I’ve done a heckuva job keeping Charlie’s blog exactly that—focused on Charlie. There have been lots of times where I've wanted to comment about current events or write about things that I find interesting or infuriating. But for someone who doesn’t believe in proselytizing, it’s always good to practice what you preach. (I can’t even begin to identify the number of ironies in what I just typed…) Actually, there are probably lots of times when I should’ve gone ahead and written what I wanted in order to preserve some mental health… It’s hard to be egotistical and not talk about what I believe or what I think all the time! Seriously though, another reason I don't write about these issues is that I feel very, very alone in my views on a lot of things…religion, spirituality, values and morals, and yes the topic du jour: politics.

Like those other topics, politics cuts to the core of who we are. We all have unique life experiences, and we interpret those experiences differently. Some people arrive at similar viewpoints; others do not. The downside to writing and talking about politics is that, not only do you risk hurting those you love, you risk being challenged. And for someone like me, who tackles difficult decisions by contemplating, questioning, researching, studying, and contemplating some more, being questioned seems preposterous. How dare you question me after all of the work I’ve done to assure myself that I’m right! The irony is that those with opposing viewpoints feel exactly the same way. How dare I question what they know as truth?! And because each side has a personal stake in what he/she believes, there’s no room for compromise.

So in this, my one post of freedom, I want to say that I have been so excited to see tonight’s results. I first heard Obama speak in an NPR interview from 2004 I think. (See, I really am a liberal, listening to NPR and stuff! All I need now is a Volvo, an iMac, and a grande nonfat skim milk mochacino latte hold the whipped cream please.) I was on my way to the grocery store when the interview came on, and I remember sitting in the Albertson’s parking lot until the interview was over because I was interested in what he had to say. To hear a politician speak with self-deprecating humor and intelligence was music to my ears. A short time later, I remember discussing him with a coworker when the topic of the next election came up. My coworker favored McCain and wanted to see him run. I remember feeling optimistic about that, thinking that if Obama and McCain ran, the outcome would be okay either way. Seems silly now.

Fast forward to tonight. I anticipated Obama winning, based on the polls, but I never really pictured what it would be like to see it actually happen. It was the most exciting thing I’ve seen in a long time. Watching his acceptance speech, I felt a sense of relief, I guess to see concrete proof that I’m not alone. There seemed to be so much joy in the crowds, and not the kind of joy that comes from delighting in the failings of others. Here are other sights I’ve been energized by tonight:
Hope glistening in people’s eyes
Tears of joy streaming down a grown man’s face
Excited and involved young people
A multi-colored, multi-generational ocean of people standing together
An attitude of love toward others

I’ve enjoyed watching history happen tonight. I wish Charlie would’ve been awake to share it with me. I know Obama’s win is bittersweet, though. I won’t silence my inner realist. So many people are looking to him for solutions for so many problems, and he is just a man. Putting anyone on a pedestal like that can lead to disillusionment and disappointment. I also know that no matter what happened tonight, politics is politics. And it’s a worldly game that I should try to rise above. But it was really nice to feel like I played a role in something much bigger than myself, if just for a moment.


Wendy said...

Well, as much as I don't agree with your political views, I am so proud to be apart of a poltical process where we can debate these topics, have different opinions, and yet still know that no matter what, we still unite as Americans. And while I am not a supporter of Obama, I am a supporter of the Presidental office and my prayers go out to him and his family as they face the challenge of leading this great nation.

McBabble said...

And boy did this election really get people talking! I don't know if I'm just older and more conscious, but I don't remember any other presidential election quite like this one. When it comes to politics, I really think most people could find common ground in their hopes for the country. I think the struggle is in the details of how we reach those goals.