I disagree with virtually every position held by Barack Obama, but I am filled with pride today. Pride in my country.
I voted for John McCain and would do so again without a doubt. I think that he is far more qualified and tested and I stand by that assertion, but I am thinking about my country and my countrymen today.
I was born and raised in the South and was always amazed and disappointed that a huge portion of America had so recently been second class citizens, mostly in my neck of the woods. I could not fathom the idea of ‘colored’ water fountains or any other sort of segregation based upon race. Being in the Deep South I certainly saw my share of racists and heard the derogatory terms used to insult them but my mother always told me that I should never label people and I took it to heart. As the 70s and 80s and 90s passed I began to despise people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and other civil rights professionals (not leaders, professionals) because I felt that Americans were still getting a bad rap for previous racism. I have felt for a long time that there are still racists in America but that the key difference between now and then is that none of them are in power. When you see someone make an ignorant racist comment today, they are a toothless idiot. They are not the Governor or Mayor or Police Chief. Racists have essentially no power, but for Jesse and his ilk to remain employed, they had to persist with the myth. I do hope that this moment in our history helps most of move beyond the Jackson style of race hustling that has kept us artificially divided.
Other countries take in immigrants but no other country on the planet assimilates them to the degree that we do and other countries are multiracial but none as varied, and successful, as America. I will say this for sure: only in America could the multiracial son of a never-assimilated foreigner ascend to the Presidency a mere 40 years past the civil rights struggles. Regardless of how you feel about the particular man who was chosen, that fact about America is a beautiful thing. We are truly the greatest country that has ever existed in the history of mankind and we are proving it again right now.
It makes me feel so good to see how my fellow Americans, those who are not white, are feeling about this presidency and what it means to them as Americans. There are a bunch of kids who now believe that they can accomplish anything in their country, kids who are seeing an example of what hard work and education can bring anyone in America, regardless of the color of their skin or their origins. I am proud of my now undeniably post-racial country.
Having said all of that, I will likely oppose most of what President Obama wants to do. I worry about my feeling that America has turned a corner, that we now will pick our Presidents in this American Idol manner without regard for experience or a track record. I know that the American media was an outright cheerleader for Obama and I believe that the Obama campaign intentionally allowed and encouraged donation fraud and to me both of those points undercut Obama’s election credibility, but he is the new President, period. And we have some work to do.
But the bottom line: Only In America. What a country.