Did you hear about the election? Obama won. If you voted for him: congratulations.
Tuesday was a lot like Christmas Eve. I waited to see what the rest of our country would bring me. Turned out to be the only present I asked for: a skinny half-black, half-white first-term senator with big ears and a goofy smile.
The big ears are only to hear us better. The color of Obama’s skin is only to show us that the United States just voted in a black president. A black president. A black president.
I always wondered which long-disenfranchised citizen America would vote into the Oval Office first: a woman or a black man. I knew, definitely, for sure, not a black man. Not in a country where 40 years ago, Freedom Riders were pulled out of buses and beaten. Not in a country where the National Guard had to force school integration at gunpoint. Barack Hussein Obama. Has a nice ring, doesn’t it?
I guess I have George W. Bush to thank for delivering Christmas on a warm, early-November day. His junior-high politics pushed America up against the wall, two walls, real awkward like a school dance. On one side, the Americans: strong patriotic gut-checkers who believed in God and old-fashioned hard work. On the other side: elitist intellectuals who liked Old Europe more than our founding fathers and would rather read a book than shoot a duck.
Bush wasn’t evil; he was shallow and divisive. Great at politics, poor at policy and along the way he inadvertently blew up the status quo and the Republican party. His wedge politics created the space necessary for a previously unknown son of a Kenyan to be president. Thank you.
I have no idea what Obama will do with national policy or foreign affairs. He’s not going to push through a Dylan-Baez bill that creates universal spiritual harmony. He won’t make Vladimir Putin more compassionate or be able to document every illegal immigrant. Barack Obama is not the second coming of anyone: Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, King. He’s inexperienced, but he appears to be bipartisan, thoughtful and temperate. Obama will surround himself with experience (already has, in Biden), listen, and make gut decisions informed by his mind. I think he recognizes that ruling in the name of God or history is a bit above his pay grade.
Wall Street went up too, so that’s a good start.
Greg T. Spielberg is a graduate student at the Missouri School of Journalism and a former assistant city editor for the Columbia Missourian.