I don’t often rail against fate. I find it useless, and energy unwisely spent. But today I am breaking my calm, unruffled demeanor because I’m angry, frustrated – frankly, I’m pissed off.
As a student and teacher of history, I know what has happened in the United States over the last two hundred plus years: Tupac and Biggie got shot, and their murders are “unsolved”; Clarence Thomas got confirmed to the Supreme Court, filling the seat vacated by Thurgood Marshall; King, Malcolm, RFK and JFK were assassinated; Jesse Jackson was “the black candidate” for president, not a candidate; Emmett Till; Rosa Parks; my grandfather got to serve his country but could only serve with other “colored” soldiers; two separate laws (15th Amendment & Voting Rights Act of 1964) were passed so that my people (black men) could vote; three different laws (15th & 19th amendments & VRA) so that black women could vote; Hillary supporters marginalized black women, saying they were traitors to their gender; Leave it to Beaver and Happy Days are “idyllic representations of American life” with one or no black people in them; Denzel Washington doesn’t get an Oscar for portraying Malcom X, but gets one for being a cracked-out lying, thieving stereotype in Training Day; Abraham Lincoln frees the slaves over which he had no authority, but leaves enslaved the ones he could free; Thomas Jefferson writes the Declaration of Independence, then fathers five children with his dead wife’s enslaved half-sister whom he owns; the assassination of Medgar Evers; the Little Rock Nine; Plessy v. Ferguson; Jim Crow; the Ku Klux Klan; people spat on Jackie Robinson because he was good at baseball; white people who get offended when they hear the term white privilege; Bill Clinton notes that “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina, too”; the cover of TIME magazine trumpets “The economy trumps race” like race was an obstacle in the presidential election; John McCain tells his supporter, “No ma’am, he’s not an Arab. He’s a decent, hardworking, family man.”
For these reasons and more, I am not happy right now. Five days before Election Day, I am consternated, frustrated, worried, paranoid, tense, exhausted, ecstatic, tearful, anxious, hopeful, euphoric, confused and angry. The free market philosophy that rose to power with Ronald Reagan, the Milton Friedman “market is god” ideal that George Bush and his henchmen have nearly perfected and ruined the country with is shredded. The stock market is a roller coaster without seatbelts; white, black, brown, yellow, red and every other color people are losing their homes, their jobs, their teeth, themselves; the United States is fighting a war on an esoteric noun and losing an invasion that shouldn’t have occurred; and still, people are questioning, the polls are tightening in the final four days.
The cable-news beast, jaws slathering and salivating without much meat to chew since the McCain campaign is off the rails, and Obama seems to be pitch-perfect, is manufacturing more doubt by questioning yet again whether race will play a “secret part” in the voting booth. Their buying the obvious psych-job by McCain’s campaign who claim their “internal polling” shows the race a dead heat. Here’s the hard, cold fact:
The black man IS going to win this race.
Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.
And I want to celebrate this, want to hug my children tight because they are helping to make it happen, they are my motivation for helping to make it happen, I want to cry over them because We are one step closer to realizing the vision of the founders, even when they didn’t see what that vision truly was. I want the liberty to be happy with anticipation, without the dread of seeing it stolen like my ancestors were from Africa and Mexico or like my dignity when I get pulled over for driving while black.
You know what? That’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to work each and every day to help get Senator Obama elected. And I’m going to do it with a smile. I’m going to do it with joy in my heart. I’m going to do it with the Obama Inauguration Day Countdown application on my iPhone. Because being a student and a teacher of history, there’s one more thing I’ve learned:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
This is the new American Revolution. And we’re going to win it one person, one ballot, one vote at a time.