Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm spent. So forgive me if I repeat a posting I blogged on Open Salon yesterday. I love you all, and am prouder of my boys than I ever imagined I could be.

The greeter at my AA meeting tonight, a tall, slim beauty named Steph, was greeting folks at the door, not with the usual extended hand and "Hi, welcome," but by repeating, "200-to-90. 200-to-90." Electoral votes. That was at 7 o'clock. SEVEN O'CLOCK!

By 8 I was on my way to what was supposed to be an evening of watching election returns at the home of my friend Sonya's mother, Diane. It was to be a potluck. I was bringing NY-style, home-baked Black- and- White cookies (in honor of racial unity and Obama's heritage, and also because Sonya is, after me, the world's biggest Seinfeld fan. Or she was until Michael Richards had his onstage meltdown). Before I got there, my sister called from North Carolina and nearly split my eardrums, yelling "HE DID IT! WE WON!" I then nearly screamed myself hoarse, making and receiving calls from my sons. (My son Mike and his wife were going door-to-door in their apartment complex, offering champagne to anyone who answered.)

Hoarse and feeling sure my ears must be bleeding, I made it to Diane's home, where I was surprised to find myself the only white person in a group of ten or so friends and family. Nice people; I've been to their church, where they've made me very welcome in the past. Staunch Christians, they see though the Conservative usurpation of their faith, and repudiate Republian lies. The pride and excitement around the television were palpable, and when Obama finally made his speech, I cried like a baby. Hands rubbed my back, arms reached out to hug me, and everyone rushed to give me Kleenex. I heard some indulgent chuckling, too. Voices around me repeated in wonder, "A black man. President of the United States." I howled louder and soaked my tissues!

I know my Black friends have been waiting about 200 years for this night. I can't know what that feels like. I do know I feel like I've been waiting more than 40 years, at least. Tonight I feel that the promise of the 60s, when I was ten years old and innocent enough to believe in Camelot, that the world would always get better, that the times they were a changin' and this land really was made for you and me; that promise finally has a chance of being fulfilled.

Tonight I feel like I got my country back.

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