I just voted. I'll always remember what I felt at that moment.
Today, I feel a little like part of me is dying. It's the part of me that is holding on to the past... the cynical part of me that thinks it's ok to sit back and let other people do the hard work. That things are always going to go from bad to worse in this country. That individuals can't make a difference.
In a real way, a new hope is growing inside me. On the street, people are uncontrollably happy. Like good New Yorkers, they're trying to hold it in, but you can catch glimpses - smiles exchanged with strangers on the subway platform, mothers holding their children's hands walking in to the polling places, friends joking and laughing waiting in line to vote. The American flags around the city seem especially colorful today.
Finally, the intangible is becoming a reality. Voting in East Harlem, it seemed especially fitting. This is a culmination of all the civil rights movement worked for. This is a beacon of hope - an American Dream fulfilled - for all those who came to this country as immigrants. And for my generation - we are finally learning, for the first time in our adult lives, that the America we learned about in our history books - the "shining beacon on the hill" - is being restored.
This moment is so important because of Obama's story. Obama symbolizes 21st century America. Mixed-race, the son of an immigrant, with roots in the west, the midwest, and around the world. If his amazing story is true, if Obama is a sign of our country's future, then truly anything is possible - for us too. If a "skinny black kid with a funny name" can be president, then why can't we turn off the TV and read to our kids? break an addiction? volunteer at a shelter? Why can't we all make our little corner of America a better place? Truly, America is a different place, a better place because his story is true. America will never be the same again.
This is a before and after moment in American history. And I'm proud to be a part of it.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Posted by Eric Holthaus at 3:40 PM