Black and white

To have my personal wellbeing, and that of so many people I know, wrapped up in the outcome of a presidential election – this is a phenomenon unprecedented in my experience.

When and why did this election become so important? It’s not just the economic crisis. It’s not just the failures of the Bush administration. There’s something else going on, something unlike all of the previous elections in which I participated.

As strange as it seems to me, I know that my personal wellbeing is teetering on the brink, and only a democratic victory will make me feel comfortable in my skin again.

What makes this election so different for me? It’s not the historical precedent – that of a presidential candidate who is half black and half white. It’s the man himself. It’s that he has a shining intelligence and a palpable empathy with the people of this country that I haven’t seen or felt since the early 60s.

I lacked maturity during the Kennedy era but I remember that I felt then, as did many other Americans, that there was something in the man that transcended the precedent that he was setting – that of being the first Catholic president. That ‘something’ was a quality in the man himself – a young man, largely untested, but with the intelligence, the charismatic appeal, and the capability to transform his time.

I haven’t felt as I did then – until now. There’s a lot riding on today’s finish. There’s a lot riding on this man who carries in his blood the divided nature of our past, and in his hands – the promise of our future.

3 thoughts on “Black and white

  1. Perfectly stated, Toni, and because he is both black and white, he can carry the black community out of the anger and despair that fell upon them at the assassination of Martin Luther King 40 years ago. It is fitting that I’m watching the crowds gather in Grant Park to celebrate where the rioters slept 40 years ago at the Democratic Convention. That’s the meaning of hope.


  2. I agree that we have been needing a fresh perspective, experienced or not. Since the results, I have heard commentary on both sides of the “aisle” saying how diverse Mr. Obama’s support was. That to me indicates a real call for change and I hope the Obamas and Bidens and their cabinet are the ones to facilitate that change. My hope also is that this interest in politics is not short-lived, and that we as citizens are able to use our own intelligence and discernment to help.


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