So much has just begun. As millions watched Barack Obama take his place in line behind George Bush, one can only pray that this is a sign of the pendulum swinging back to maintain the perfect balance of this world we are so fortunate to live in. Each one of those millions saw their hopes and dreams, their personal challenge, the struggle against that one thing that has stood before them, in glaring opposition to them; they saw the injured, bleeding limb, extended as their final defense; they saw it replenished. They saw it begin to heal. They saw it revived and invigorated. They saw the eternal strength of love raise it's head again; with a tear in it's eye and fire in its heart.
What a spot to be in on election night... "Awe, relax Barack. It's just a speech. You've done hundreds. No pressure." It was like a final second free throw to win the NCAA Championship. Well, Barack, it was a strong, clean shot off the glass, and through the hoop. Yes. I didn't expect to ever see this great day. We will never know if you intended to hit it off the backboard or not. Nor does anyone really care. You made it. Good job.
Do you frikin' believe it?!?!? A nigger is President! That's right. I said it. Maybe it's time to grow up and recognize that words, though they can be powerful in their own right, are just words. I saw a great quote, it may have been MLK, I'll check. It's essence was this: Blacks in America need the white man to restore their self-esteem; to teach them about the society they live in and how to prosper in it. The white man needs the blacks of America as well. The white man needs the blacks to relieve him of his guilt. Not to through away the race card, but to teach him how to render it powerless. Just like we need to do with 'nigger'.
Chris Rock has a famous bit about "niggers" and "black people". Not only did it highlight the boundary so often the primary oversight of bigots and racists, it also served to disempower this wildly overpowered word. It did this in two ways. First of all, just by use. Each time a word is used a small piece of it's power is used. For an example, look at the word "fuck". Second, it was used in a non-exclusive and non-offensive manner. i.e. Whites were not culturally excluded from the humor as is so often the case. But I digress. If ANY word deserves it's own article, it would be nigger.
I felt like such the American, sitting at the table, watching Barack (yes, he and I are on a first name basis), having tater tots and a Coke (btw - I still can't believe Budweiser was sold to a foreign company!); pools of ranch and ketchup to keep it interesting. For a moment, in spite of my meal, I felt the international stigma of America lifted. I didn't feel the scorn of the world that ever so slightly darkens every day of our lives. What I felt was something I hadn't felt in quite some time. I felt hope. Nothing has actually been done, but as Barack said, "We have given ourselves the opportunity to change." (that may not be an exact quote...).
Hope is why I wrote this. Because Hope is the first step of the peace process. The steps go as follows:
1. Hope - the desire for peace.
2. Faith - Hope permits taking the risk of faith. We must have faith that the opposed also want peace.
3. Transparency - What better confirmation of another's faith. We should have nothing to hide. This must be applied broadly, across the board... It's much easier to do than our knee jerk reaction tells us.
4. Communication - Transparency reveals the faith and hope of those opposed to us and vice versa. We have now established a relationship in which we can effectively communicate about our differences. Violence is nothing more than a breakdown in communication. Via communication we will be able to find common ground and stand for our convictions without standing on another's toes.
5. Respect - the foundation laid by 1-3 and effective communication/dialogue will permit us to see our commonalities and understand our differences in a true light without insecurity's need for judgement.
6. Peace - once we respect one another (i.e. don't judge) and embodied by the characteristics of 1-4, peace becomes the only option.
Today, we saw the establishment of Hope. Step 2, Faith, has begun. We are establishing faith among ourselves and our government that we have a shared purpose and goal. We are establishing faith with the world that we all want prosperity for each other and that we all are capable and willing to "do the right thing."
What a relief to feel hope again. My faith in Barack Obama is growing, though there is much more to be seen before our government regains any of my benefit of the doubt.