Looking for words when they won’t come.

I fancy myself a writer. I still harbor hopes of being professionally published some day. I’d like to think that my amateur output at least doesn’t suck. I am my own worst critic.

So I hate not having words.

I still haven’t any for my feelings on the election. My thoughts are still unsettled, in a good way.

I haven’t stopped smiling. When I see a picture of Rev. Jesse Jackson crying in Grant Park, or Condoleeza Rice choking up a bit offering her congratulations, I tear up. When I contemplate that Inauguration Day is the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I tear up. When I catch a fragment of will.i.am’s Yes We Can, I tear up. Tears of joy, of relief, even of disbelief. Even a little of sorrow, thinking of my grandfather, who would’ve been so proud to see what America did on Tuesday, or President-elect Obama’s grandmother, who died Sunday night just short of his victory.

I feel like I’m waking up from a long nightmare.

Everything feels different. I noticed, walking to Kroger’s yesterday morning to get a copy of the paper, everyone was smiling. Broadly. Genuinely.

Kroger’s had sold out of newspapers shortly after opening. There’s a B&N a few blocks north. They were out, too. By this time, my hustling was joined by a young black professional, also searching for a copy of the paper before going in to work.

The B&N suggested UDF, but there was a 7-11 across the street, which I suggested we try first. They had three left. He grabbed two, I grabbed the last Dispatch and a USA Today. We were both smiling like lunatics.

It’s almost like something inside the country’s psyche snapped Tuesday night, that we remembered that it is okay to hope, it is okay to dream that the future might be better, that we are all in this together, that we are a better country than what we’ve been the last eight years, that we all have to come together to fix all the things that are broken.

It’s not a liberal thing, a conservative thing, a red, a blue, a purple thing. It’s an American thing.

I applauded John McCain’s gracious concession, although I admit to wondering where that John McCain had been the last three months. That John McCain, perhaps with Ohio’s Betty Montgomery as his #2, could’ve gotten even true-blue Democrat me to give him a second look.

And Obama’s victory speech was… right. He’s right. This isn’t the change, this is just the opportunity to bring the change about. We have a lot of things on our plate: a war in Iraq to end and one in Afghanistan to win, an economy in recession, a global climate in peril.

Can meet those challenges?

Yes. We. Can.

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