Every Blessing (Thoughts on the President-Elect)

I am still reliving the jubilant scenes from Tuesday night of men, women, and children — black and white, Hispanic, Asian, and of many other nationalities and races, young and old weeping and cheering as Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America.   It was an incredible moment!    I wish we could linger there just a little bit longer.  I had this tremendous feeling of relief as the election was called.  Tom being a numbers guy had been following the polls and predictions and called it long before I was able to actually accept what was happening.  It is not just because the election of 2000 was stolen, but because I too, along with much of the world, was carried away with amazement that America was willing to vote a Black man into the highest office of our land.  I am so proud of us!

But the brutal reality is that Obama will inherit a terrible legacy from George W.  Wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq.  The current government’s failure to prevent an economic collapse.  Was it caused by greed or deregulation or both?  At this point, who cares?  Retirement investments are losing or have lost a fourth of their value, people need  Jobs, many Americans are working two or even three, others are losing their homes or are going bankrupt because of inability to pay healthcare expenses.  It is all, – so, – very, – sad.

I read today that the name “Barack” in Swahili means blessing.  I must say that the results of the Presidential election feels like America has been blessed.

For the first time in YEARS I am not ashamed of being an American.  Ooooooooh, Michelle Obama was blasted for saying something like she wants “to be pround of America again.” (Not a direct quote).  And I know what she means.

I’ve never been that patriotic, perhaps because I feel like what is called a 3rd Culture kid.  Being born in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and living there for the first years of my life, I often don’t feel like I identify with Americans.  (Nor am I New Guinean if anyone is wondering.)  I’ve seen American’s kiss the ground when they return home from a cross-cultural trip overseas and I just don’t get it.

Anyway, simply put I think President Bush and his reign has disgraced and tarnished America’s reputation globally.  And I’m not alone!!

I read on a NYT Op Page these comments from people living globally:

Jessica watched the results from a bar in Cape Town and wrote: “For the first time in recent memory, I can shout in the streets that I am American and be proud of the progress, hope and color that now define us.”

In Switzerland, an American was bathed in compliments comparing the election to the fall of the Berlin Wall. An American in Kenya named Tom wore an Obama T-shirt and found that his walk to work took more than an hour because so many people stopped to congratulate him and celebrate with him.

An awed Tanzanian named Leonard wrote to say that this election has promoted democracy far more effectively than anything the United States could say or do. He ended: “Long live America.”

And lastly here in the United States, an 8-year-old boy announced on Wednesday morning his new career goal: He will be America’s first Latino president.

“Lord, we ain’t what we want to be; we ain’t what we ought to be; we ain’t what we gonna be, but, thank God, we ain’t what we was.”

(From a preacher who had once been a slave.)

I feel more hopeful about the future than I have been in a very long time.

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