Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Please Don't Shoot the President (Yet)

Obama won, and I felt like I should have been more excited than I could actually muster. The whole thing felt so anti-climatic. We all stood in the gallery staring at the election count projected on the wall, getting more and more tipsy on the wine, making small talk about political art. And watching the clock.

At the strike of midnight, the count was in for the west coast. The screen flashed subtle - California, Oregon, Washington turned blue.


And it was over. Obama surpassed the needed 270 electoral votes to win, and it was over.

People had been chatting and mingling, too spaced out or engrossed to realize the gravity of what had just silently flickered on the wall.

Oh, Obama won, I announced, a little more deadpan than I intended.

What? What happened?! What?! I watched as the room slowly spun crescendo into a confused flurry as people began to realize that the elections were over.

Yeah, its over. Obama just won. He got California, Oregon, and Washington for 270 electoral votes, so he's president now, I sigh, detached from why I felt so detached at this momentous occassion.

Screaming ensues.

Oh my God, Obama won! We have a black president! Obama won! Fuck yeah!

My friends hug me, hug each other, and scream some more while I stand, forcing a smile, mumbling yeah and its awesome. Everyone was so excited, I didn't want to rain on their parade.

In my head, I couldn't turn off my cynicism. At this point, democrats and republicans might as well be the same party to me. Ultimately, they will all look out for number one, upholding the wealth within an unequal capitalist economy, and it's all about the bottom line, baby. At least Republicans are honest about their intentions and discriminations, even if it is totally effed up.

So will Obama be any different?..

In my head, I couldn't turn off the shock. And as excited as I am that a person of color is finally sitting in that oval office, we have learned, through examples such as our darling Condaleeza, that just because your skin is brown does not necessarily mean you will advocate for other brown skinned people once you hold power that has historically been equated with whiteness, colonization, and slavery. Though it is definitely a good strategic angle to market yourself to the public vote..

I am keeping my skepticism about Obama's claims at bay with the faith that things will get better. I want to see action backing up his words. His acceptance speech was inspiring and made me feel better about the future, but I still left the party early that night.

The Obama family are the new Kennedys in the White House, and I wonder, what change will we see?

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