Now that Obama has won, the focus shifts to expectations for dramatic change and improvement across the board and the historic importance of the first black president.
For me, both of these lines of thought are foolish and irrelevant. Obama himself can do little to stem the tide of bankruptcies and layoffs that are yet to come. He can’t single-handedly end war in Afghanistan or Iraq and there is no way he can make the nation’s industries stop what they are doing and go Green. Health care reform is a long way off. Prisons will continue to fill.
What we need now is to recognize the symbolic power of a victory of the reasonable middle class that believes in positive Progress. The same day Obama was elected, three states banned gay marriage. For those who voted to deny gays the right to marry, the Bible still determines for them who can and cannot love each other. How absurd that in the 21stcentury USA homosexuality still instills fear.
Today at Dante’s Inferno in downtown Portland, Isaac the crippled “owner” of the club told us how he was rolling down the Sellwood Bridge on his wheelchair when someone hit him and busted him up real good. It was a hit and run, but Isaac ain’t trippin. He has waited 55 years to see a black man in the White House and he’s still smilin’. I always am skeptical of a bum’s story, but what the hell. Its the symbolism that counts. When a lady next to us at the bar said that Obama will only prove that a black man in office is just as corrupt as a white man, Isaac said Shit! and my brother was like, take that Haterade somewhere else. hahahahaha …
I guess my point is that expectations for Obama misses the whole point of this thing and glorifying his blackness does too. The two topics seek to divided us from our victory:
by expecting more from him, we are preparing for disappointment and absolving ourselves from responsibility.
by making him black, we strip him of his leadership qualities and black people of their humanity.
Best way to handle all of this is to ride the wave and expect more from government in general and ourselves specifically. It should be easy now to understand that anything can happen if people are united and organized. We should feel like part of a community and safe enough to walk any street, sit down at any bar, ask directions from any man.
Tips: Hold a garage sale and BBQ if weather allows. Organize a soccer league with your local strip joint as the sponsor. Kick it downtown and say hello to strangers, so we can feel safe again. Sign up for a Greenpeace newsletter and then roll to the coast to save something. Go to the hot springs and invite strangers in to chill with you.
Forget blackness and whiteness. (This is really how we change things, by making symbols reality through small deeds, done daily.) Be nice for no reason.
otherwise you watch TV waiting to see the miracle be wrought and end up bitter and shaking your head at the futility of it all.
If you a man, buy a girl a drink or a candy bar and demand nothing but the memory of her smile in return.
If you a girl, feel free to post a comment on this super dope blog.