Monday, December 27, 2010


When I meet a new man of interest I proceed with caution...I view the potential relationship with optimism but reluctance...don’t want to move too fast, get too comfortable, or stake my claim because there are so many things that could go wrong to affect the outcome and as soon as I let my guard down that is when I am most vulnerable and easily hurt...and I don’t want that.

In 2008 I treated the Presidential election similar to the way I approach a potential courtship...I maintained a safe distance...I wouldn’t wear a shirt, post a bumper sticker, or even make a campaign donation...I would not get involved, I tried my best to play it cool...

My reason is not because I did not believe in OBAMA and have a real desire to see change in our fact I wanted it so badly that fear of being let down, my fear of him losing would not allow me to embrace the idea, the joy, the excitement, the COURTSHIP of the campaign. I would not allow myself to enjoy the mere possibility of his win and not focus on the possibility that things would not go the way I wanted them to. And like I perceive the dating game, the anticipation of the election was too much, the lack of control too great, the uncertainty of the outcome not even worth the effort to get involved.

I fought hard not to get too attached to the idea of finally having a Black President of the United States....I watched as my friends, family, colleagues and the majority of my country rallied behind this man...but I could not move, my heart could not take a monumental let down. I mean what if I REALLY got attached to the idea that Barack would be president....what would I do with all those t-shirts, bumper stickers if he lost? I even told myself that ‘they’ would not let it happen and not to let ‘them’ string me along again. ‘They’ won’t get me all pumped up and dangle a Black President in my face just to steal the election from him at the last minute...the same way ‘they’ did the last candidate I put my faith in.

And like many who secretly view the MySpace or Facebook pages of our person of interest to try to figure out which one of their ‘friends’ they are involved with based on the comments I did the same on CNN...I stayed glued to the channel every night following my candidate of interest trying to figure out what states he would win, how many electoral votes he would get and what the likelihood of him winning this historic election based on what the ‘polls’ are saying. And like MySpace...where the people doing the most posting are typically NOT people they even regularly communicate with...the people taking these telephone polls were typically NOT the constituency that I identified with because in this mobile millennium many of us don’t have home telephones for us to be polled.

Despite my reluctance, I most certainly would not forfeit my right to vote and to cast it in the state of Ohio – one of the most important states in determining who will win the I voted absentee. I sent off for my ballot, I mailed it in two weeks early. I didn’t stand in line to vote early like many others did...but I would have. Years of sexism, racism, disenfranchisement, and cheating had me skeptical...thinking “they are going to magically lose my ballot” and “they are not going to count all of those early votes because they know majority are for OBAMA”...why let us vote early now? I know they can throw them all away. My lack of faith in our voting system is not unwarranted...I mean we can bank electronically, trust ATMs to manage our money, send text messages and transmit information over the ‘World Wide Web’ but we cannot seem to put a reliable voting system in place to manage our democracy.

On the night of November 3, 2008 I could not sleep. My eyeballs burned but they were glued to CNN. At midnight when the first polls opened in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire...I was watching, and I watched as the majority cast their ballots for Barack Obama 15-6...a town that had not voted for a Democratic candidate since 1968...could this be an indicator the change we were all hoping for?

I watched CNN as they had their cameras on Chicago Midway airport waiting for OBAMA to land...I kept thinking ‘they are going to try to do something to his plane’ – I had to watch it until he touched down. I had to know that he was safe. I watched the polls all day as states one by one declared an OBAMA win. That evening I went to Justin’s Restaurant in Atlanta to watch the election reports come in among friends. The landslide victory came waiting all night into the morning for ballots to be counted, no doubt of who won. I was shocked, I was happy, I was embarrassed and ashamed that I did not do anything directly to contribute to this historic win. As Young Jeezy’s anthem “My President is Black” blared over the speakers I cried...I cried tears of sadness because I refused to open up and allowed myself to miss the courtship so many enjoyed. Most of all I cried tears of joy because I was witnessing history. I thought about my grandmother Natalie who passed away in September 2007 – she had witnessed so much in her 92 years on earth...I know she would not have been able to fathom a Black President of the United States in even her great-great-grandchildren’s lifetime.

My mother always tells me about what she was doing in 1968 when Martin Luther King, Jr. was devastated the country it seemed as if the last great leader was gone...our only hope for true equality. But now, 40 years later I have witnessed what some people never thought would happen, especially the people who lived in the era where Blacks were sprayed with hoses and beat and hung...this was not that long ago. I was overwhelmed. Barack had already made a change before he has even been sworn into office. He had changed me...he restored my hope in the possibility of possibilities....and my heart and mind is now open.

Sam Cooke echoes in the background of my mind... “it’s been a long time comin...but I know a change gon come”’s here and I believe.

*I wrote this the day after Barack Obama was elected, found it in my archives and decided to share


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