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Ever Forward

I would like to write a note about the experience of voting, of watching the news about the voting, about watching the returns, about waking up this morning to the news. About seeing the hand-lettered Yes We Did sign while I was driving home from dropping off my Best Reader at work. But the thing is, I keep bursting into tears. It’s not a very dignified way to blog.

A couple of days ago, I watched one of those videos, those little YouTube movies where people sing and play instruments and we can watch intercut shots of celebrities, news images and unknown photogenic people, and it was really, really moving. And I thought that one of the things that this election would be about, culturally, is whether people who looked at that video saw America. That is, whether people saw a fat bald black guy with ptosis, and said, that guy is an American. The guy with dreads. The old white woman with the butch haircut. The black woman with the funky haircut and the ripped Black Sabbath T-shirt. The Asian woman. The hulking young black guy in the Texas sweatshirt. The English rock star who wears sunglasses inside. The little white kid with the snow shovel. The slightly effeminate Jewish Hollywood actor. The old black woman with the flag over her head. The old black guy in the uniform. The hostile-looking Latina. Those mobs at the rallies. The immigrant families in those old photos. That kid holding the We are America sign. Martin Luther King, Junior.

Some of us who look at that video and said this is who we are, this is us. And, I’m afraid, some of us look at that video and see outsiders, troublemakers and aliens. Some of us couldn’t look at the two candidates and think that one is like me, and that one isn’t. But it turns out that a lot of us, an awful lot of us, can look at them and think that one is like me, and that one… that one is also like me.

Over at TAPPED, Adam Serwern writes that We’re All Americans Now. I think that’s why I keep crying. We really are all Americans now. Two hundred and eleven years ago, our forefathers, and I mean all our forefathers, even those of us who aren’t in any way descended from any of them, brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. And it seems that every generation or so, we make this nation new again, a new birth of freedom. We are all Americans, now. All those people in the video, Barack Obama and John McCain, Abraham Lincoln and Reverend King, Your Humble Blogger and that kid with the sign.

Today, every American citizen and millions of people who aren’t American citizens now, and maybe never will be, can look at Barack Obama, and look at the people who filled Grant Park, and the ones who danced outside the White House, and the ones who were booing in the Biltmore, and we can say this is all America. All of it. There isn’t any need to shut anyone out. This is our home. It’s our country. And when I say Yes, we can, what I mean is this:

We’re Americans. We can do anything.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


I beg to differ. It's an excellent way to blog.


I keep bursting into happy tears myself. Oddly enough, I felt more subdued while traveling today, though I did still keep grinning...

That brought a tear to my eye.

But I have to mention that I looked at both candidates and I thought neither is like me. The ways that they aren't like me don't matter. And I can enumerate the ways Obama is more like me than McCain is - closer to my age, child of an immigrant.

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