In the midst off all of the “Magic Pink Candy Juice” battles and my indecision over the appropriate time and place to take my sick child, I have a thought, a feeling that’s been floating in the back of my mind since last week. I’ve debated about whether or not to blog about it because it has to do with the election, and this is a mommy blog. I know that not everyone out there is happy with how the election turned out, and I know that they need time to mourn the vision of the future that they have lost. My intent is not to open a sore wound, or to alienate any one. But, this is really important to me, so I’m going to share.
If you read my comments, then you may have caught that I’m a conservative Democrat. It makes elections very difficult for me because I rarely agree completely with any candidate. For example, I’m a pacifist. But, I’m also practical and think that the only way to keep our country safe is to arm ourselves so well that no one wants to mess with us. I guess I’m sort of a Compassionless Liberal.
In the past, I’ve never really needed to worry about voting in the Primaries because Pennsylvania holds it so late that Democratic candidate has already been determined. That wasn’t the case this year. Even though I hadn’t decided if I was going to vote Republican or Democrat in the election, I wanted to make sure I exercised my right to vote to determine who I wanted to give a chance.
While it’s exciting for me to dream about having a woman in the white house, I have to confess, I really do not like Hilary Clinton. I won’t go into all of the reasons, because that’s not the point of this post, but trust me; I would take a lot to get me to consider voting for her.
I’ll never forget my feelings on Primary day while I was standing in the booth trying to decide which switch to flip. Obama or Clinton? I ran down my mental list of criteria I was using to select my candidate. It went something like this. Integrity? Obama. Humility? Obama. Effectiveness? Obama? And so on, with Obama getting every check. But then there was that one nagging thought.
I want my vote to matter. I want my vote to make a difference. I want to see a change to the past eight years. And I posed this question to myself. Do I think that this country will elect a black man as president? If, we as a people cannot get past our racial prejudices and elect a person based on who they are, and not what they look like, then voting for Obama is a waste. Shouldn’t I vote for the person that I think has a better chance of winning?
My hand hesitated over the switch, do I vote for the person I believe in or do I vote for the person I think has a better chance of winning? And right then, I realized that I had to do what my heart and mind told me to do. Vote for the person I believe in and hope that I’m wrong about the people in my country. So, I flipped that switch for Obama and ignited that small spark of hope into a little flame.
Over the months between Obama winning the Democratic nomination and the election, there were a lot of times when feelings of dread would creep in. I have to confess, it was hard to keep the faith when the people around you are trying to convince you that our country isn’t ready yet. Then I would hear comments like “The old white guys are going to come out in droves to keep a black man from winning.” “I just don’t trust him, I mean his name is Muslim.” And the ever popular “You aren’t going to vote for that N, are you?” If that many people are actually saying things like that, then how many more are thinking it?
November 4th found me right back in that same voting booth. My hand hesitated again over the Obama switch. This time, it was not with uncertainty. It was so I could savor the moment. The moment when I followed my heart, when I fanned that flame of hope and voted for a man that I believe in. I let go of my doubt and pulled the switch. And so did millions of Americans.
Only time will tell what President Obama will do for this country. Will he reunite us as a nation? Will he fulfill his promises? Will he bring change? Who knows. But, there is one thing I do know. He lit that spark of hope in more than just me. He did it across the nation. And those sparks were enough to ignite a fire that was big enough and bright enough to push back the dark legacy of racism just enough show us what is possible.
I know it’s not the end of the battle, but I now have hope that the battle can be won. And that, my friends, is a very powerful thing.