Change

I’m relatively young, of legal voting age for only the three elections before this one (I’m 30 – you can stop multiplying and subtracting now). I’ll be honest; I wasn’t so concerned about voting in the past years, so I didn’t. Furthermore, I wasn’t overwhelmingly thrilled with the candidates, especially not in the ’04 election. I’ve always followed the races and examined the candidates’ platforms. I’ve been interested in the presidential elections as a chronological marker of a shift in America’s history, but not so moved that I’ve been motivated to fulfill my civic duty and vote. But this year, I’ve been affected by the same seismic charge that has rumbled other casual observers like myself into political action. These days are kinetic, and the results of tomorrow’s voting will be an electrifying shock to the American system one way or the other.

What isn’t shocking, though, is that there is a very real possibility that we may have an African-American as president. President. It would have been shocking back in ’62, which was the year that my mother, with the whole class watching, was called a nigger by her second grade teacher in the newly-integrated elementary school.

It would have been doubly-shocking in ’72 when Shirley Chisholm became the first major-party African-American candidate for the presidency.

It would have been moderately shocking in the ’84 and ’88 races of Jesse Jackson. Not ever really expected to win, what successes he did achieve were still considered “surprising” for “a Black man”.

But now, Obama is just this close away from the presidency. What I find the most remarkable about this election is that Obama is esteemed for being a man. Just a man. The fact that he is African-American is almost secondary, which speaks as much of America as it does of Obama. America surely has plenty of room for left for growth in the non-discrimination department, but I think that this election is a wide stretch of proof that we are slowly but surely headed in the right direction.

All of that said, HOLY SHIT – an African-American might be president! In one generation’s time we’ve moved from segregated classrooms to a Black man currently in the election lead. We are on the brink of a monumental event in the chain of Black History. My great-grandmother, who passed away when I was pregnant with the twins, saw days when an African-American couldn’t be president. My children are living days when an African-American is leading a presidential race and hopefully will be president.

Good times.

:::::::

On a somewhat related, but lighter note, ever since Obama won the Democratic ticket I’ve had a segment of Eddie Murphy’s 1983 stand-up show Delirious stuck in my mind. This has always been one of my favorite comedy acts. In our separate childhoods*, Frank and I both managed to memorize practically the entire show, and many of the funniest lines are now part of my family’s inner dialogue.

This isn’t the kid-friendly, Donkey of Shrek Eddie. This is the classic Eddie from two decades ago – rude, lewd, and inappropriately and offensively addressing many of the hot-button topics of the early ’80s – AIDS, homosexuality, and Jesse Jackson’s run for the presidency (every other word is the f-bomb, so do not watch this in the company of little ones or priests):

I wonder how many, if anyone did the same thing and in a few days’ time will also incredulously, rhetorically ask, “He fucking won?”

*I wasn’t allowed to watch the show in its entirety until I was 13. Before then, Mom would let me watch the snippets that were stories from Eddie’s childhood. Though liberally peppered with curse words, the parts about chasing down the ice cream truck, playing the fart game in the bathtub, and his shoe-throwing mother (of which I couldn’t find a clip) are freakin’ hilarious.

8 Comments

  1. Io on November 4, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Ack! I am so nervous and excited! Moxie! It’s election day! Ahhhhh!



  2. Soapchick on November 4, 2008 at 6:22 am

    That post brought me to tears! We are indeed on the brink of history. How exciting!



  3. Bec on November 4, 2008 at 7:34 am

    I’m totally sharing this post in my Multicultural Counseling class tonight. I think it’s cute that you’ll be the topic of discussion tonight in class…LOL! I’ll let you know how it goes! For now, off to vote in our not-so-hot-as-Africa sun (or lack thereof).



  4. Kristin on November 4, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I am so glad you are voting this year and I hope you vote every year in the future. Do me a favor and check out this post on my blog http://thefertileinfertile.blogspot.com/2008/10/are-you-going-to-vote-on-tuesday.html Read it not because its on my blog but because it has links to an incredible story about a lady who is the 109 yr old daughter of a slave and she is voting!
    PS…I’ll have to watch Eddie later. All the kids are right around me.



  5. luna on November 4, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    very exciting day indeed. he’s not just a man. he seems like a GOOD man. and in politics, they are few and far between.



  6. Stacie on November 4, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Congratulations on voting!
    Doesn’t it feel awesome? This is only my 2nd time, and this time, I am SOOOO excited I can barely stand it.
    Obama 2008!



  7. Me on November 4, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I heart Eddie Murphy.
    (Even if he makes bad decisions in the bedroom.)



  8. girlh on November 5, 2008 at 12:56 am

    YES WE CAN!
    we are dancing in the streets in Brooklyn tonight. Ok, wait, I am watching from the window as there is a sleeping child here. but I am sooo tempted to wake her and take her outside!
    YES WE CAN!
    p.s. i heart eddie murphy too.