We got there

I just didn’t believe it could happen–this, 

First family.jpgour new First Family.

I’d been calculating and recalculating the electoral votes since the beginning of October–you know, switching a NH for a CO, a Michigan for a Pennsylvania, etc., etc.,–and maybe by Monday, I’d arrived at a glimmer of hope: perhaps he could pull off 280 electoral votes. (Please, please.) But after the election of Bush for a second term–after it had turned out the President had lied about WMDs (not that even the lie was reason to invade) and Abu Ghraib had been exposed–I lost all faith.

And I thought the country was too racist to elect a black man.

God, what a joy to be found out wrong.

And did you notice, in Obama’s victory speech, how he invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s Moses on the Mountain speech, his last speech, as if Obama understood he was going to carry on from where King left off?

Here’s King:

We’ve got some difficult days
ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the
mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a
long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that
now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the
mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may
not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a
people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not
worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen
the glory of the coming of the Lord.

And here’s Obama:

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get
there in one year or even one term, but America–I have never been
more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you–we as a people will get there.

Choked me up.


[Here’s a video recording of the last minute of King’s prophetic speech. And here’s Obama’s echo and tribute, in the first 30 seconds, here.]

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  1. says

    Yes, they’re beautiful! My heart is full and my head is swimming. I’m overwhelmed by what the people of our nation have accomplished. Now, the work begins, and he will need our involvement, our support, and our vigilance. Stay committed!
    Yes, Eva, besides the thoughtfulness, and the steadiness, and, yes, I’m not ashamed to say, the eloquence, not to mention the loping physical grace (I’ve spent so much of my life reflecting on the meaning of movement, I can’t help feeling that our President-Elect’s liquid ease bodes well: it’s such a rare quality among politicians, who usually seem all bungled up in their bodies, though Bill Clinton had some of that expansiveness–except more in the flesh, which turned out to spell trouble, yes it did), part of what convinces me that Obama will be a great leader is he already has been. He managed to rally millions of people around a cause that he always made clear was larger than him, was OUR cause, and to get them working tirelessly. I have a friend who took off from his job 18 months ago to volunteer for what he thought would be a few weeks for the Montana primary and ended up working for Obama (for pay)–in Georgia and North Carolina–straight through yesterday. And perhaps beyond.
    Obama had a team and the team had a team, and they all worked diligently and constantly, as Obama acknowledged and celebrated in his acceptance speech. So, even though I’m ancient, and it was people 10 years my junior and even younger who did the heavy-lifting (yay!), I felt like I was part of something. And, yes, I want to continue to be. So keep reminding me and us, Eva, whenever we fall off the wagon.
    ~) Apollinaire

  2. Lori says

    Finally, an heirloom quality Times page 1. It was also poignant to hear CS and ML King’s son’s eloquent comments in Grant Park; and to see his tears of joy, Jesse Jackson’s, and so many others’.
    Hi, Lori! I missed the Kings son’s comments. I’ll have to go google that. And, yes, by 9:30 am, the Timeses[?] at my corner newspaper store were sold out–and I had to make a special search. A beautiful cover (and proves that paper papers have their place!)
    Re: Jesse Jackson’s tears, they were what got my own primed. Some commentators cheapened that moment by suggesting that Jackson was crying in self-pity that HE hadn’t won in 1988. How low of them. As Jackson later explained, it was the joy of this moment and the sadness that Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers and the other civil rights workers killed in the line of high duty weren’t alive to witness it that caused the torrent.
    Thanks for writing, Apollinaire

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