The Audacity of Hope


I have never been so proud to be an American than today when not only did we elect the first black man to the White House but his opponent took time to mention how far we have come from the night Booker T. Washington was invited to eat dinner at the White house amidst racist outrage. Jesse Jackson, the first black man to win a primary and who many of us expected to be the nod for VP that year, cried heartfelt tears in the audience. White, black, Asian, and Latin@ people hugged and cheered. Pundits were choked up, quoting Martin Luther King Jr. And Barack Obama gave a speech in which he acknowledged not only the historical struggle of black people but also women. It is a moment in our collective history that can never be taken away.

As a girl who once put her little sister in a ditch to hide her from drunken klan, not knowing if I would live through the night to find her again; who was told to drink from the “fountain for n-s” long after those fountains should have been done away with; and who was threatened by klan riding the bus home from one of her first classes in undergrad, I, like many other N. Americans, know that this world is a very different one than it was yesterday. And even tho I also know that this is not the end of racism in N. America, I am still proudest of those among us who had to overcome racial prejudice to cast the deciding votes.

Though my mind is still on prop 8, prop 2, and all the others like it tonight, I cannot help but dance.

So dance with me y’all; now is our time:

Thank you PRESIDENT Obama for inspiring a nation and daring us to hope for a better country and a better world. And thank you FIRST LADY Obama for personally inspiring me to be a better woman in the face of the twin oppressions of racism and sexism that have typified this campaign. We are all made better by your joint willingness to risk everything and dare us to dream.

Yes, We Can!


9 thoughts on “The Audacity of Hope

  1. I just can’t stop crying. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt this much relief… this much joy. I feel as though I have been waiting to vote for this man my entire life. It hardly seems real. The image of those beautiful little girls on that stage with their father is not one that I will soon forget, either. I see bright things ahead of us.

  2. alex – I hear you. I cried this morning too. And my students are coming to the office crying. it’s a beautiful day.FR – welcome to the blog! Yeah . . . it’s amazing isn’t it?!

  3. I was just listening to Oprah talking about how she felt – and I can’t remember her exact words, but she kept saying, "it’s like…change is really possible! It’s like…we are about to become something we’ve never SEEN before!" And that’s exactly how I feel. Like the possibilities are limitless, like we are finally going to become a nation that we can be proud of. Not that we’ll get there soon, but that we’ll be walking, together, in that direction.

  4. Well – honestly, it is how Barack Obama has always made me feel – not just the rhetoric and the speeches, but the way that he ran his campaign, the way he kept reaching out to people who disagreed with him, the way he consistently responds to criticism by being more honest and real than I thought it was possible to be. I feel like he just drew so many of us in who are desperately yearning for the kind of country that he envisions.OK, I’m getting corny, so I’ll stop.

  5. We read your blog. And we are still in a state of suspended euphoria. We understand your emotion. Those days of drinking from a reserved water fountain are a dark stain in our nation’s history. But we want you to know that our generation, the generation that was born in 1970s and 1980s do not forget the lessons of the past and we will continue to create the America of the future. We owe it to people like you, to our friends and allies abroad and, yes, even our enemies overseas. With this election we took one more step to becoming "that shining beacon on a hill."The Staff Members at exModia Blog

  6. Obama hasn’t been my choice for all that long. This election cycle it was Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, John Edwards. I’ll tell ya though who I would’ve voted for in a heartbeat – Michelle Obama. I saw her early in 2008 on CSPAN a couple of times as part of a panel of candidate’s spouses and thot, damnit she and Elizabeth Edwards need to TEAM UP! But that’s just me.Barak came to Boise in Feb 2008; people were hyped. I saw grown white men, age 40 and up – leap off their seats screaming YES! to what Obama was saying. There were at least 14K there on a dreary, cold, cold Saturday morning.There’s a sense of quiet relief. The ReThugs have been thrown out in many places including here. McCain with his obvious lack of judgment and common sense was sent back to his 7 or 8 houses to wander around and ponder why he allowed the GOP to pick a running mate who doesn’t even know Africa is a continent. I mean, didn’t we learn that stuff in the 3rd grade or somewhere?Now to tackle misogyny.

  7. ex-modia – welcome to the blog and thanks for working toward equality. One caution – be careful what you think about our past and our present; I never said when it was that I was directed to those fountains.wordsmith – welcome to the blog. Obama was not my first choice either but many of his policies line up with mine and what I think will ultimately make this country better. Thanks for bringing up misogyny b/c I do think we have to remain vigilant on that as much as we do on racism and homophobia, all of which were the saddest parts of this election and still parts of our society.

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