The Road to Obama, Part 1

By on January 26, 2009 @ 12:00 am

Thigh muscles aching the day after — the joy shines from within.

When people ask where I was on the 20th, the magnitude of my answer seems to shock people. . .

I was proudly one of millions that was propelled to Washington not just to witness history in the making, but to bask in the goodness of humanity – the smiles, the tears, disbelief and pride of being an American.

Wow, for the first time in my life, I feel more than the 3/5th’s price tag that America placed upon my head long ago. I am more than just the dream of the slave or the struggle of the immigrant. I too am an
American today.

Leaving early Friday morning on my discovery of Americaness via the Eastern seaboard – NYC to FLA; beachside on the sandy grounds of Daytona to the bewildering circles that emcompass the DC landscape – I realized that ultimately we are truly all the same.

As the only Black people and persons under 30 staying in my beachside hotel, my friend and I pondered how much things had changed; would our fellow guests snub us because of our color? How deeply ingrained is
racism when faced with the other not as a figure on a tv screen, but live and in color? Conversely could I see beyond the stereotype of dark, dank wooded areas littered with the memories of lives extinguished?

As the youngest people in the building, we realized that we had gained 20 mothers and fathers curiously checking on us – making sure that we not only enjoy the hotel amenities, but also vocalized how brave we
were to take the road trip, asked us to carry their hopes, dreams and wishes onto the Mall and put in perspective that only 45 years ago black and white flesh wouldn’t have been able to laugh, smile and
philosophize in search of peace in a whirlpool together.

While sitting in the whirlpool, chatting it up with a couple Canadians, we were attacked by the future – six little brown girls of various crayola hues hungry for the soothing warm waters, clustered in the pool splashing, laughing and doing girl like things that only 9 -10 year olds could think of: pondering the weirdness of boys and stealing a piece of sunshine while wetting us with their impulsive nature, jumping in and out of the small pool like slippery flying fish. I smiled at them, to my friend’s chagrin as if engaging them would ruin an already fabulous tan. But I pressed on. Curious about their feelings about the days to come, I asked them how they felt about the election. I got the standard stock answer that children
give: “It’s good.” 

When I pressed to find out why, another stock answer came – most likely fed from their teacher: “Cause it’s good for the country.”. Hopeful that I could find some sort of inspiration from their words and eyes,
I discovered it when their guardian, a rather “country” man (When I say country, I mean gold toothed and grimy) sauntered up to us thinking that he would get his mack on with two ladies in bikinis AND the children whom were with him were chatting with us. Lucky day right?

Um … No.

He sauntered up looking like a skinny ass Mr T. and asked us if we smoked. At that moment I could feel fourteen eyes on us – six pairs with innocence and questioning in them and one with x-ray vision.

My friend and I looked at each other disgusted that this dumbsss would even ask that in front of children.

What did we say? HELL Nah! (think Oprah Winfrey in The Color Purple after being asked,”You wanna be my maid?”)

Defeated, he wandered off in search of his light and a cheer from five little girls erupted.

Job well done – hope renewed.

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Observations
Sue January 26, 2009

My daughter is ten. She came bursting through the door, home from school, to ask me excitedly, “DID YOU WATCH IT?!” hehehe.

meleah rebeccah January 27, 2009

This post made me all sorts of weepy.

The Orange Phoenix January 27, 2009

Being in 70 degree weather made me weepy too . . . I didn’t want to leave. . .

Ricardo January 28, 2009

You were there? That is something you can never forget. I really wish I could have seen it for myself. Such an incredible day. I could feel the energy coming off the TV. And when Obama made that speech where he slapped Bush hard about all the stupid stuff he did over the last 8 years, I loved it.

That guy looking for a smoke sounds like a keeper BTW. :-)

Lavenderbay February 1, 2009

Congratulations for having made it to the Mall! I hope the Canadians you met in Florida were as excited as a lot of us have been.

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