Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Black Voices on this Awesome Day

Think! What would it be like to be an African American on this awesome day?
by Charlie Leck

One of my daughters sent me this thought by Maya Angelou about what she would do today and, as the votes are counted, tonight.
"I'm so excited, the excitement can hardly be contained. How will I be spending election night? On my knees. Maybe getting off them to have a very nice Scotch and then getting back down on my knees again."
Yes! Indeed! We, who are white, can only mildly imagine what it must be like to be black and awaiting the outcome of today's election. I have just watched on TV a series of interviews of African American people of all ages -- from children to the very elderly. It was quite amazing to see the hope in their eyes.

My friends, to quote a great American, we are alive and witnessing one of the most extraordinary moments in American history.

I don't know who Jay Z, the rapper, is, but he must be very important in the African American music industry. I know I've never heard him. Nevertheless, I loved what he said about this election.
"Rosa Parks sat so that Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so that Obama could run. Obama's running so that we all can fly. I can't wait until 5 November and I'm going to say 'Hello, Brother President'. I can't tell you who to vote for. All I can do is tell you to vote."
Eugene Robinson, a columnist for the Washington Post tries to explain the emotional investment African Americans have in this election [click here to read his entire column]:
"Whoever wins this election, I understand what Barack Obama meant when he said his faith in the American people had been "vindicated" by his campaign's success. I understand what Michelle Obama meant, months ago, when she said she was "proud of my country" for the first time in her adult life. Why should they be immune to the astonishment and vertigo that so many other African-Americans are experiencing? Why shouldn't they have to pinch themselves to make sure they aren't dreaming, the way that I do?
"I know there's a possibility that the polls are wrong. I know there's a possibility that white Americans, when push comes to shove, won't be able to bring themselves to elect a black man as president of the United States. But the spread in the polls is so great that the Bradley effect wouldn't be enough to make Obama lose; it would take a kind of "Dr. Strangelove effect" in which voters' hands developed a will of their own.

"I'm being facetious but not unserious. In my gut, I know there's a chance that the first African-American to make a serious run for the presidency will lose. But that is precisely what's new and, in a sense, unsettling: I'm talking about possibility, not inevitability.

"For African-Americans, at least those of us old enough to have lived through the civil rights movement, this is nothing short of mind-blowing. It's disorienting, and it
makes me see this nation in a different light."
If you want to read more of these thoughts from well-known African-Americans, go to this Alternet story.

And film maker, Spike Lee:

"I say it's very simple, we have BB, 'before Barack,' and AB, 'after Barack.'

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