Wednesday, November 05, 2008

this unfamiliar pride.

For the past year or so, and actually starting back in 2004 when Barack Obama made his first major appearance onto the mainstream political scene, he has always been praised for his oratory skills, and at the same time, that ability was dismissed, or isolated as a skill that has nothing to do with his performance. In addition, the constant criticism was sounded based on his lack experience. I agree that someone's ability to speak doesn't necessarily cross over to executive performance. Although, I think it's important not to dismiss his ability, nor do I think it's accurate to say he is merely a "good speaker" and ignore what he has accomplished. This accomplishment is not the obvious, it is not the monumental fact that he is the first African American President elected to office. I'm talking about his ability to inspire. This inspiration is not restricted to urban communities, it is not restricted young college kids, it is not restricted to the middle class or the labor unions, it is not restricted to the United States, it has truly affected the world. Regardless of who you supported for the last 8 years, it is obvious that the state of our nation is, arguably, at its lowest point since I've been alive. The economy is suffering, the american dream has all but vanished in light of the urgency to stay in our houses and pay our medical bills, job loss, record deficit, two wars and a global reputation that has steadily declined to a point of embarrassment (and I am not pointing the ideological finger) Out of this dire straight came Barack Obama, who captured and harnessed this illusive and dwindling inspiration, he found that ghost like muse which all of us have somewhere inside us, but can be so hidden and trampled, it is hard for us to see or feel. He saw it in us. For those of you that do read my blog, you will all agree that I am not the most positive person when it comes to the big picture of America, but at the same time, I fully recognize the reality of the human spirit and our resilience. Obama found that, and he was humble and focused and he truly believed. He presents a challenge to me, because he has looked my cynicism, the whole nations cynicism, right in the eye, and he is an example of that human spirit, and what I am confidently identifying as the AMERICAN spirit, not the american dream. There is pride in America again, not that misguided tragically nationalistic pride that is defined by state lines, and national borders, or political ideology, and association, but the proud proclamation, the resurfacing of national unity, community , enthusiasm of an ALL INCLUSIVE AMERICA. It's the american ideal. I realize that this is just the beginning and that Obama has yet to prove himself, and not for one second should our scrutiny wane. Although, this election was truly historic. Record voter turnout, a convincing victory which showed the world we are serious about bringing something fresh to the world stage, and regaining our position as an example of hope, not irrational fear. Watching images from across the country was indescribable. Watching M.L. King's sister witness her brothers' cause realized. Hearing a 98 year old black man describe his euphoria about seeing an African American President Elect. I can't play it cool during this historical happening. I am truly emotional and truly euphoric, and spending last night in Philadelphia was amazing. Being at a bar and seeing everyone glued to the TV while Obama gave his acceptance speech. I included some excerpts below. I am still a cynic, but at times when I can see the hard evidence of the human spirit, the american ideal; when I can feel that strange sense of pride in who America truly is, it is enough to force me to, at the very least, take a step back. Hey Obama, don't screw this up!

From Obama's speech last night"

"So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. "

"This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one thats on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. Shes a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old."

"Its the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."

"Its the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day."

"It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generations apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory."


Blogger Melanie said...

I guess I have a difficult time thinking this is our lowest point. In 1973 you couldn't get a job at McD's without experience. I know, I tried. I was 18. I remember an Arab Oil embargo and long lines to get gas just to be able to go to work not too long after. I was living in the SF bay area. Then there was this little thing known as The Great Depression. We survived that as well.

Anyway, I do think Barak is a skilled orator, but personally, he sounds like a politician to me. I don't get it. I am trying, but I really don't. Obviously he has some organizational skills to get where he is now. It doesn't happen by accident.

Even though I don't think Carter was a great president, I do think he was president at that time for a good reason. I am trying to keep the same sense of optimism for Obama's administration.


9:13 AM

Blogger David said...

I'm 27. This is my worst time :-)

9:40 AM

Blogger David said...

but i edited it to be more specific to my experience, thanks for the heads up!

9:42 AM

Blogger Najia said...

beautifully said my friend :)

8:27 AM

Blogger ChrisFafaliosAwesomeBlog said...

Hey Zach, its your good buddy Chris Fafalios! Guess what, I have a blog now. Its obviously, and I also just bought You gotta check it out sometime, I'm gonna write some real deep stuff on there.

Also, I'm real happy about my boy Barack. We played Cleveland the other day and the guy working there tried to tell me he was the antichrist and that we're all going to have to get chips in our arms. It was very awesome pure shit that was pouring out of his mouth, i wish I'd have recorded it!

5:55 PM


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