Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Momentuous Occasions for ALL Americans

As I sat last night crying with gratitude for the incredible sights I was seeing, the words I was hearing, the release I felt, I thought how incredibly proud I am to be a white American in an era when a black man can, IS!, elected to take office as the next President of these United States. I am proud and, yes, a little more than relieved, that we have turned the tides and fulfilled the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, James Meredith, Rosa Parks, four young girls attending church in Alabama, three young men working for CORE in Mississippi, the millions of unheralded who have stood up to racism, stood up for each other, stood up for their beliefs and dreams, the thousands who have suffered, died, been imprisoned for those beliefs.

We cannot deny that what we have now, this great and unequaled country, was built on the backs of slaves from Africa, indentured servants from Ireland, Chinese railroad workers, Mexican day laborers, and at the expense of the lives and lands of Native Americans. We cannot deny that as a group, whites have benefited from the color of their skin and the power, earned or assumed, associated with that. And now, maybe, hopefully, we have begun to heal, we have begun to come together, we are building a community of Americans that is all-inclusive and so is non-exclusive.

I am proud to be an American. I always have been, since I was a child and began to understand what it means to be American. But for the first time, I can say I am proud to be a white American, part of a generation, part of a new world order, an all-encompassing, united new order of Americans leading the world in acceptance and understanding of different peoples, cultures, and ideologies that can work together for the benefit of ALL. I can see the melting pot that we have always called ourselves finally becoming a delicious stew with multitudes of flavors, colors, textures all working together and feeding the world.

I selfishly celebrate the election of Barack Obama to be our new President because it relieves me of some of the guilt I have felt, the embarrassment of the behaviors of others of my race, the anguish at how divided my beloved country could be. I selfishly celebrate that we can now truly be one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Now we get down to the nitty gritty and the hard work of building on this momentous occasion so no more black Americans need to feel disenfranchised, no more white Americans need to feel the burden of guilt, no more immigrants need to feel unwanted and unwelcome. Get to doing the hard work of uniting our own people so we can then turn to our duties and responsibilities, as leaders of the free world, to help other peoples in places around the globe experience the freedoms we oft take for granted. We can become what we were meant to be. We can become what we WANT to be. We can become the UNITED States of America.

1 comment:

susan cwynar said...

hey...welcome back....was readung your Obama essay and it reminded me of the inauguration and the incredible time we had there. We went down to DC with 2 tickets...scored 5 more...3 of us got shut out at the silver gate after 5 hours of waiting! But we viewed the ceremony in the Native American Museum (sipping complimentary hot chocolate so what's not to like!) and then went back outside with 3 million of our new friends!!!! My favorite pix of the day are just faces!!!! Have you seen Abbey's cd of her photos? If not I'll try to send it to you...great shots and music. Susan Cwynar