Friday, November 7, 2008

The Party Is Over. What's Next?

my favorite line in Obama's speech in Chicago, November 4, 2008

The party is over. The celebration is still going on, at least until Obama is sworn next January, as the 44th president of the United States of America. Sworn, as the first "black" president.

I had so much to say that evening, after I followed the count, the speech and the euphoria. Too bad the internet was down, the very first time that I experienced bad internet connection since I arrived, I believe it was because of crazy traffic crashing through the veins of fiber optic, backbones, networks... to share a historical story. I couldn't access blogger so I couldn't write what was in my mind immediately, so all I did was finally calling Cynthia just to share my scream of "Aaaahhhh-Aaaahhh... I'm SOOO HAPPYYYY!!!" and, uncountable amount of "Yaayyyy... Yayyyyy.. Yayyyyy!!" that she couldn't help but laughing at me.

My heart jumped after ABC and CNN announced that Obama won, even at that time the counting was not even finished. Whatever they call, landslide, tsunami of voter turnout, I feel the wave in my heart, that,like what Oprah said, it was the first time after 9/11 that USA was united - not by the tragedy, but by hope.

Those scholars who introduced the notions of political apathy might now review their books, journal articles and papers, the center for civic education may soon write a report about slacker uprising, as Michael Moore had sent all people in his mailing list 2 mails since that historical election night. But then, what's next?

Yes, this election has grown new voters, bring the minority the pride, comfort to keep their chin up, that finally, their voices are heard, and realized, building within bitter memories of long, long fight that last for centuries. A friend of mine have declared that she would hang Obama's picture on the wall, next to Martin Luther King's picture. Reminder of the black heroes - and there, I see the deeply cultivated agony, the wounds of racial seggregation in this diverse "UNITED" States of America.

Then I, by purpose, popped a question about that sacred issue in my class the next day. That I don't see Obama as a "black" man, as I know he was born and raised by a white mother. The terms of "biracial", "colored", or "mix" were not even coming across my head - when I just said, "For me, and for amy other people 'out-there', Obama is 'America'. He is the reflection of the diversity, and for me, by default, by his race, by his genetics, by his education, he is not the mere representative of the black, but for the whole country."

I remember the awkward atmosphere in that seminar room. Where the only "black" classmate that I have in my class explained about the racism and discrimination, and my professor, who is a very smart white woman, as always, managed to perform objective stand, by admitting that.

So now, will this "black" president cure that deep down agony?

Will he, in the next 4 years of journey, be able to break the seggregating walls between these people with or without colors in this country, just like what was shown from Grant Park in Chicago, that November 4th evening, where blacks and whites cried for his victory?
Will he nurture the hope, or will he let those who hoped down?

This is not the best time to become a president, some said.
But as my attitude with the half full or half empty glass, I will say that it can be the best time to become a president in this country. Because if he succeed to lift this country from the mess of wars, financial crisis, poor social service and apathetic citizens, his name will be carved with golden ink in history. His success will be the motivation for the citizens to believe in the power of (representative) democracy. That there is really a sense behind a vote. That there is really a reason why we should trust our voice to a politician. That there is really a benefit of democratic system. That this knowledge, will be the best voter education ever, and that political apathy will be a history - with millions to blame, from TV channels, pundits to spin doctors.

I am so much looking forward to see America after this election. Will US will be more united? Will US wake up from these nightmares? Will the wars in Middle East be ceased?
Hope by the end of the day, in November 2012, Obama will answer it with, "Yes, We COULD".

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