Sometimes, it is true that you just don’t know, until it happens, how you will feel about something. This has been the case since Mr. Obama was elected to office. Even those who voted for him have said that they didn’t realize what an impact it would have on them. It is different, they say, from other elections. As for conservative Republicans, many tell me that even they have been taken aback by their profound feelings since the election.
And what might those feelings be?
A long lost feeling of integrity, that America is what she says she is, a free country where anyone can become her president. A feeling of being whole after feeling splintered, that we truly are a place where race is not a deal breaker or maker. That we can break from painful legacies of the past to live in the present. It is cleansing. It is refreshing. It feels new.
As someone whose heritage is proudly European, I also recognize that Europeans, like all civilizations, have flaws. Traveling to Europe and becoming friends with Europeans, you learn that so much of their daily life is bound in the straps of history. From what you name your child to what time of day a business can be open or not, Europeans deal with daily issues that Americans would find enormously constraining.
Mr. Obama is just a man, in many ways like other men. As both man and president, he will have strengths; and he will have flaws. All of us do. But for today, he is also a symbol. He is a symbol that even though there have been errors in the past, in our history, we can transcend them. Not everyone can or will appreciate what I am saying here. It doesn’t change the fact that Mr. Obama’s accendency to office symbolizes the core of freedom that is great about this country. No matter how many times America veers off course from our core and constitutional values, this fact, that we still can and do operate as a Democracy, is a sacred stamp upon the soul of each and every one of us who live here. We truly are blessed to be a part of this country.
Sometimes, you just don’t know how you will feel about something until it happens. I didn’t know that when Mr. Obama was elected to the office of the presidency, I would feel as though I could hold my head a little higher on the world’s stage. I didn’t know how I would feel. Now, I do.