I keep reading that America will make history today regardless of the candidate that we choose: we will either have our first African-American president, OR the delightful twofer of the oldest elected President and the first woman vice-president. Somehow, Option Two doesn’t sound like history to me, other than that by electing the Crypt Keeper and his batshit sidekick into office we would be writing America’s obituary into the history books.
Try as I might, which is not very hard, I can’t see the 10 week joyride that Sarah Palin will have taken into office as a great historical stride for women, nor do I see electing the oldest white guy ever into office to be of positive import. Who cares? All that election would say to me is we are a nation of fools, clinging to a loveless marriage with our idealization of a glorious past instead of opening our minds to the possibility of a glorious future.
Call me “defeatist” or “un-American,” but my feminist dream of electing a woman into the second highest executive office in the land didn’t include (1) the second highest office at all, or (2) some hard line Republican’s wet dream of a prettily packaged, cold-eyed power monger whose only hint of true compassion is for special needs children and fetuses. Rather, it included somebody exceedingly smart and capable, who worked hard herself for the prize, and didn’t have it handed to her purely as a cynical ploy by that oldest living white man in his own search for glory.
So I will settle for electing the first African-American man into office, and if I let go of my last lingering resentment that women ALWAYS come in second, then it’s not settling at all. It’s sheerly and powerfully wonderful. How incredible that the day has finally come where, if the polls are correct, a majority of Americans will elect someone into office who represents the very best of what America has to offer to the world: a person who is a true face of what America has become – an increasingly assimilated cultural melting pot - and what it needs to be – a country that values intelligence and thoughtfulness; that prizes education.
Black Americans get to experience something today that I can only imagine: seeing themselves represented as a candidate for the (until recently) most respected job in the world. To see what education and hard work can help you to accomplish – what incredible possibility for our children!
Please let today be the triumph of hope and possibility over:
Outdated notions of what makes America great.