i'm just going to say this one time, because i don't want to waste the opportunity to catalog the goings-on of the world in this space.
i'm a conservative, okay? like, really. and for the last several months, in particular, i've been on the receiving end of a lot of crap from other people about how that somehow 'means' something about me and the way i feel about others. well, it means a lot of things, but none of them include that i'm stupid, naive, bigoted, and a hater of women, racial minorities, and other groups. may i remind the gentle reader that i am, in fact, a woman? and i like us just fine, thank you. :)
i'm saying all of this because i am one of the few million who did not 'barack the vote' during this election. and believe you me, i struggled with it. i struggled because john mccain isn't really that conservative and i really wouldn't have chosen him as my candidate (nor did i in the primaries), and voting for barack obama - for me - would have been more of a social statement than a political one. and i nearly did - for that reason alone. i nearly, nearly did.
in the months up to the election, salimah and i had many a tense conversation about the candidates. she was so passionately pro-obama and i was so passionately anti a lot of his policies (primarily economic ones). but her passion runs so much deeper than politics, policies, and elections. it draws from a deep and abiding wound that exists in the hearts of so many people in this country for centuries of injustice, hatred, anger, and the feeling of being mocked, cast aside, and placed forever in a position of 'less than' just because of the color of one's skin. but it's not just the wound, either. it's the hope of healing that wound....the hope that all the bullshit (yeah, i said it) might actually be proven false one day; it's the awareness that at some point, the white supremacists, the 'good ol' boy network', and even those of us in suburban america who harbor racist attitudes (and there are many of us, whether we know it or not) will have to acknowledge that ALL PEOPLE REALLY ARE CREATED EQUAL - and not just as a statement on a piece of paper signed by some white men hundreds of years ago.
it was for THIS reason that i nearly voted for obama. but i didn't. i didn't because at the end of the day, i still believe in other things, too, and i made my decision - even though it was a difficult one - based on where i thought this country needed to head in order to get out of this mess we're in. obviously, my choice didn't make it into the top seat, but i'm glad and really grateful that so many people all over this country shared their opinions, got involved, got inspired, and got behind the candidate they wanted.
when barack gave his acceptance speech on tuesday night, he made mention of all those people whose support he has yet to earn (and in that statement, i hope that i heard a desire to earn that support in the coming months and years). i'm glad he feels that he's my president, too. he's got a lot of hard work ahead of him - that's for sure. but with all that he will have to accomplish, there is one HUGE hurdle he has already crossed. and for that - regardless of policies or party - my heart is overjoyed.
salimah, you are NEVER going to the back of the bus in this country again. and by God's grace, no one else ever will.