Saturday, November 8, 2008

barack obama, a victory for healing

what an incredible week we've all had! on tuesday night, when barack obama delivered his acceptance speech, i was crying tears of joy, of relief and of some disbelief. millions of others world wide were having the same experience.

did we really do this?

the next morning, i wanted to write about it, but there were no words. tears still choked my voice. but i was increasingly giddy, i woke smiling. and i have remained hopeful, expectant, excited, proud. like a 13 year-old girl crushed out on a pop star, i have this strong urge to put a picture of mr. obama on my wall. silly, i know. for now, i put him and his family on my blog, found object. which is, after all, my most public "wall".

my brain is finally settled down enough to begin to express some of what the election of mr. obama means to me.

his election symbolizes healing. it also accomplishes healing.

much of this blog has been about healing. i have been occupied with healing my own emotional, spiritual and physical wounds for years. this particular year has been completely focused on healing from breast cancer. over my lifetime, as i've faced and healed from various traumas, it has been natural to take those experiences and try to use them to help others heal. this blog is, in part, about offering my healing journey up in the hopes it might just help someone else who is struggling.

in this, i feel a strong link with mr. obama.

mr. obama grew up poor, by american standards. like me, he grew up not going hungry, but knowing want and knowing that his parents were not going to be able to financially support his dreams. like me, mr. obama came from intellectual, academic parents who inspired him, who encouraged him to believe that he could become anything he set his mind on.

for me, the deepest piece of my personal connection to this historic moment in american history is not that mr. obama is a person of color. (although that certainly represents immeasurable healing for us as a nation). the piece that resonates to my core is that mr. obama did not grow up financially privileged. he grew up with a single mother. he rode the bus. he spent his youth in an apartment in a big city.he spent part of his childhood living in the developing world. he got all scholarships to an excellent private high school because he was smart and his mother (and grandparents) put a high value on education. and he worked scooping ice cream through those high school years.

barack obama grew up and made his way in the world from, as i see it, essentially the same place i did. without money, without the power and network of upper-class parents, without a father that showed him support, but with an incredible mother and grandparents. (a non-traditional family can produce well-adjusted kids? now that's revolutionary! supporters of prop 8, do you see that?) he understands on a personal level what it means to be a working american. mr. obama understands grassroots economics because he came from the bottom, not somewhere close to the top, as presidents in my lifetime have. he has lived sacrifice and service to others in real, tangible ways that i can understand. he got where he is today on the strength of his intelligence and his willingness to work hard.

mr. obama's election to the office of president represents healing for all of us who grew up close to, or at the bottom of, the economic ladder. his victory affirms us all.

dear readers, you have heard me in this last year express much anguish over my finances, my sense of insecurity and my tenacity to be paralyzed by fear. seeing barack obama be elected by a significant majority this past week has not completely erased those fears or immediately fixed my dismal money situation.

but, it has given me hope in something bigger than my problems. his election does offer a healing balm for people struggling. for me struggling, right now. it has sent a clear message of hope to every kid growing up poor, every child of a broken home and to every person who feels on the outside. if you can dream it and work hard for it, anything is possible. the impossible has become possible.

a year ago, i considered the election of barack obama highly unlikely. i didn't vote for him in the primary because i didn't believe he was electable at this point in america history. i am so glad to be wrong. i am so deeply comforted by this wonderful, improbable result.

the story of barack obama makes me hopeful that other unlikely things may come to pass. the seemingly impossible things become possible. even personal things. if obama can get elected, then maybe i will fall in love and find an amazing partner. if obama can get elected, maybe even in an economic crises, i will land a great job.

if barack obama can get elected, then i have hope that we can end world hunger in our lifetime.

making seemingly impossible things happen takes more than hope, it takes hard work and time. yet nothing ever happens without that hope to get it started.

let's get started.


Paige said...

Tay- I so relate to your comments on this amazing and hope inspiring change in our nation's circumstances.
Driving to my office the day after the election I felt as if some invisible burden that I hadn't even known was there had been lifted from me. Let the healing continue. Paige

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Dear special girl of mine,
I, too, have a deep crush on Barack Obama. But the part of your message that touched me most was the part about him giving you hope that you will fall in love and find a great job. I hope for those two things for you, fervently, and I do believe, yes, I do believe that your time is coming.

PetalsYoga said...

Yes yes yes... so eloquently put and so right. I know we as a nation have mighty struggles ahead but at least at last we have the leader in place to guide us through it. As you say, Barack Obama is no stranger to adversity.

Keep on chugging Tay!

Anonymous said...

I believe Barack Obama has already begun to heal the massive rift between the US and Europe that developed during the Bush years. Having lived in Oregon for 2 years, America and its people will always have a special place in my heart and I am so happy for you all. Angela (UK)

Laurie Constantino said...

Yes. I agree with everything you've written - I am just so hopeful for our country and world. At least I've finally gotten a grip and stopped crying with joy at the drop of a hat! Even Alaska reelecting our felonious senator and prop 8 and its brethren passing California and the other states, depressing as these things are, can't get me down.