Last year, on Obama’s election last year

When I still was in a writing workshop 12 months ago, each member had to write something brief on what happened to them during the last two weeks. This was read aloud at the beginning of every meeting. A year ago, mine was on the election of Obama. I post this here without further commentary.
I come at this literary exercise with many of my ironic teases and off-hand wisecracks trying to regain a foothold in my character. I need to find a joke. I need to find a shrug. I need to defend like hell this encroaching entity that’s been spinning and ricocheting around the globe, and in my heart, since November 4th, 2008.
I need to stop getting all teary-eyed about Barack Obama.
I need to let myself get all teary-eyed about Barack Obama.
I spent all day Wednesday after his election reviewing the reactions, and the speeches, and the commentary on this historic win, and found myself getting all teary, and it was good.
My problem with Obama has always been the same.
An irritating lift of hope emerging within.
I do not want to believe someone can change the world for the better. We only have people like Bush, and many others, who can change the world for the worse. That has come to be my main belief system where politics is concerned.
Politics is about belief then betrayal.
I spent election night in a hotel in downtown Brussels, near the European Commission. I shared celebrations with Belgians, British, Irish, Italians, French and others who were as enthusiastic and ebullient, if not more so, than the Americans there. Many of them were young. And full of hope. Then the next day the numerous heartfelt congratulations I received from European friends confirming what an international election this was, and that a lot of non-Americans were dancing in the street in their hearts.
So I let myself say, You did good, America. You did good, USofA.
So for that moment, American heads could be held a bit higher. That it was okay again to be an American.
So all my sophisticated defensives fight amongst themselves, calling for Realism, Skepticism, Level-Headedness…and then watching and listening to Obama’s acceptance speech, and finding tears sliding down my checks, and thinking, goddam, goddam, goddam, in spite of myself, in spite of everything I know and have experienced, goddam, I am full of hope.

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3 Responses to “Last year, on Obama’s election last year”

  1. Leila says:

    I am about half way through ‘Dreams from My Father’. I keep having to stop to laugh in a mixture of pleasure and disbelief. First time I’ve ever found a politician who is like me. All the rest of them appear to be aliens (and I do not mean the illegal sort).

  2. admin says:

    I read his “Audacity of Hope”, and he was describing things with a novelist’s eye. A literate politician with subtle brains is indeed an odd thing. I’m glad for you with the father/mother identity and connection…. …Whenever I have asked myself what would be the one job I would never do, it has always been, Politician.

  3. Jessica says:

    interesting article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone hear that some Iranian hacker had hacked twitter yesterday.

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