I am quite sure that everyone was waiting on what I have to say about Obama being the Future President. I almost did it in RNS fashion, but Obama deserves more than that. (Curiously, Obama’s name comes up as a misspelled word on Mozilla, wonder how long it’s going to take to fix that?)
Let me first just say, it hasn’t hit me yet. I have moments, when I am almost there. When I almost understand the significance of what I saw my country do on Tuesday. To all my friends that were shouting, and crying, and speaking in tongues, I applaud you for being much more in tune with your feelings than I. The only time I got close was when my boss, who I don’t really know at all, spoke about how she used to drink out of water fountains that said Colored Only, and today she stood in line to vote for a Black Man.
That is when I realized that this election was never really about us in the first place. This election is for our aunts & uncle, nanas & paw-paws, for our children yet born, and the students I teach. This election, this movement, this man is going to change the world in the best way possible . . . By making us as a people (not just blacks but everyone) better. For the men who died so that we could vote, and the women who marched so that we could have a better education, and the single mothers who fought to have their kids on the same level as everyone else.
I had my students vote on Monday, and it was HIGHLARIOUS. They all knew who Obama was, a few actually knew who McCain was. But half the “ballots” were invalid. They circled both names, colored in the faces, wrote letters on the back. Out of 20 children, only 7 actually voted, and 3 of those were for McCain. What made me realize that they are the future was when one of my kids actually told his mother he voted. He believed that his ballot meant that Obama was going to be president. His mom said that was all he could talk about, that he had voted. And he couldn’t understand why his mother hadn’t voted yet.
He made his mother go vote, because he thought it was mandatory. Because someone told him that EVERYONE had to vote in order for Obama to win. For the children who will be born while Obama is in office, that will be the norm. And unless the history books get better, they won’t understand the significance of Obama being voted President of this great Racist ass Nation. Because I didn’t appreciate being able to go to whatever college I want to attend. Fortunately, I had to mother who made sure I watched Eyes on the Prize every year, and took classes about African American History.
My generation has been portrayed as lethargic, lazy, selfish, stupid, ignorant, and most other things that society (and often times most of the world) has used to refer to African Americans as a whole. But this man, this movement, this PHENOMENON Barack made us get off our asses. He made us want to volunteer at campaign offices, and knock on doors, and make phone calls. And drive 8 hours just to see him, and stand outside in 80 degree weather just to see him at a rally.
The truth is, WE OWED THIS to our ancestors. We owed the last forty years that we as a people have wasted. We owed this for Soulja Boy, and Sagging Pants, and BET, and half the shows on VH1. We owed not going to class, and dropping out of school, and not voting or even knowing if we were registered to vote. We owed half the garbage that we call Hip-Hop, and most of the videos that we put out, and all the glorification of violence in Grand Theft Auto.
People died for us, to have the lives that we squander. People were attacked by dogs so that women could fight on TV for Flavor Flav. People were hung in trees in front of their families so that Soulja Boy could give a shout out to the Slave Masters. (Please read Robert Donigan’s note Dear DeAndre way for more Info) We have literally fucked up so many chances, that at this point, if we hadn’t stepped up our game we would have never really counted again.
So yes, I am so excited that President Barack Obama will take office on January 20, 2009, I will be there to see it happen. But don’t get pissed off when the hood niggas are blasting My President is Black. Because that is all they know. It’s what they have been doing for almost 60 years. The change isn’t going to come overnight. Black folks are not suddenly going to realize that THE WORLD is watching us now. They aren’t going to stop using broken english, and stop wearing baggy clothes. Half these folks don’t know that he’s not in office yet. Obama doesn’t have a magic stick (Michelle might say different) he can’t change everyone.
It’s up to the same people that were knocking on doors to start knocking on heads. To start expecting more of themselves and others, and recognizing that if someone can’t do it because they don’t know how, it’s our job to guide them. Those same people who stood in line for 4 hours to vote need to sit at the feet of someone older than them to learn about what worked in the past, so they can make it work for the future. Obama is a beacon of hope, but he will never be the savior of his people. He is just a man, who understood what was expected of him and actually did it.