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The day after.

2008-11-05 - 9:19 p.m.

For months I’ve read all my favourite bloggers going on and on about the upcoming presidential election. To a man (and woman) (okay, mostly woman), they were pulling for Obama. They wrote entries about it. They put logos in their sidebars.

Last night, he became the first black man in U.S. history to win a presidential election… and, so far as I can tell, only one of my “regular reads” has written a reaction to it yet. It’s kind of weird. Are they too busy celebrating? Are they too overcome with emotion? I could certainly understand if that was the case. I surprised myself with how deeply I was affected by the news (which I had to head to a news site to get after I couldn’t find an answer on the first few blogs I checked). I mean I even teared up slightly, and over an election in a country that wasn’t even mine.

I cannot explain it really (though apparently I’m going to try since I’m bringing it up here), but I just got this sense of – corny as it sounds – hope for the world. Hope that’s, frankly, been in short supply the last few years. And the outcome of our election here in Canada didn’t provide it, when the environment got pushed roughly and suddenly to the backburner in favour of the economy, when, as a friend put it, the election that was supposed to be about the “green shift” became, instead, all about the “greed shift”.

For years I thought I’d like to move to the U.S. I hate the cold and would love to live somewhere warmer. But to be honest, I’ve gotten the sense that my personal values have clashed more and more with the way things were going down there: no support for Kyoto, gay marriage, or the right to a decent maternity leave, and support even eroding for a woman’s right to choose when it comes to her own body and health issues. The worship of oil and the almighty dollar prevailing over the need for clean water and air and financial security for the little guy. All the news coming from south of the border seemed to be bad news. And frankly, America’s reputation was that, well, America was kind of racist. And that was not the kind of place I wanted to live, even as a white person.

And now this.

Maybe in my lifetime there will be a woman president. Or, hey, let’s dream big, a non-white woman president. Maybe in my lifetime the measure of a person really will be taken by what they’re capable of achieving, rather than what they look like. Maybe we won’t irrevocably poison the world we live in, and maybe there will come a time when people care more about issues that affect the quality and quantity of years we live on this planet we’re stewards of than who is allowed to marry who. If a black man, and one with a Muslim father born in Kenya to boot, can be elected President of the United States of America, it really does feel like almost anything is possible.

Before - After

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