We have a new president now, and I'm fine with that. I feel like such a minority sometimes, being middle of the road. I like Obama, really. I also like McCain. I don't like the Clintons, but thank goodness that didn't have to come into play. I surprise myself with how dispassionate I feel about politics. In fact, more and more people who get all wound up about it irritate me, no matter what party they are. If supposedly Obama has gotten people more involved in the political process, I find myself growing more laissez-faire about it.
The election didn't surprise me - after 8 years of a Republican the country was bound to swing the other way. I didn't see it as a big "race" or anything, I figured the outcome. And when talking to some coworkers, a couple who are very politically-minded, I was kind of surprised, I guess, that they felt it necessary to be all passionate and working the polls. How strange for a Social Studies teacher to feel that way.
I think that Clinton and W. Bush were such polarizing figures... love to hate 'em, and how easy it was to feel that way if you wanted to. Obama is certainly saying all the right things, and the patriotic spot in my heart finds itself getting woken up every once in awhile from his speeches. If the media would just give me some time, I will probably consider uniting for Obama. Well, at least for education & the economy. But there's one big sticking point that raises my hackles. And that's his race.
I don't have a problem with the fact he's black. But it's the broader question - is he? Are mixed-race citizens having to identify with one race? Is it a card he played to help get votes? Is he belittling his mother's and her parents' influence? I understand the significance, of course. But he's not the same as African-Americans who are descended from slavery. Sure, the civil rights era played a major role in his life. Sure, he suffered the same way other blacks did (and do) socially, I'm sure. But as much as the media and everyone else celebrates our first black president, I'll tell you when tears will be in my eyes - when a man or woman, whose ancestors were sold in Africa by rival tribes, chained aboard a ship, and resold into bondage in this land - when THAT person ascends to the highest office in the land, I will believe we've achieved the goal of equality. I know that others need to put cracks into walls before it finally breaks, but I'm saving my emotion for that day.