Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Oh yes, it's personal
This is the traditional Tibetan prayer flag sent to me several weeks ago from my dear friend Kath. The colors represent the "five pure lights," or elements. Blue (sky/space), White (air/wind), Red (fire), Green (water), Yellow (earth). Each flag has a picture of a "Ta" (a strong horse) which is a symbol of speed and the transformation of bad fortune into good fortune. Traditional mantras are written around the Ta on each flag that promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. When you hang it in the winds, they are supposed to take the good will and compassion into all pervading space. I've been saving it to put out on this particular morning. I'm rather in the mood for some positive forces in this world. Wisdom is a good thing, as are peace, compassion and strength. We need it all.
So on that note, does anyone want to take a guess on who I might vote for in the presidential election today? Seriously. Any takers?
Well, OK. You're right - actually, I have known for a while. To be exact, I've known since July 27, 2004 that I would one day be voting for Barack Obama for my president. My family was in Baltimore, MD to watch the Red Sox play the Orioles that evening, and we had rented a hotel room near Camden Yards. I believe the Red Sox lost that night, and we had walked back to our room afterwards, totally exhausted. Once back and showered and pajama-ed up, we cozied up beneath the blankets and had the TV tuned to the Democratic Convention. John Kerry was being nominated that year. I liked the man, and still believe he would have been a good president. Whatever. (gasp and shake your heads all you want. He was swift-boated!!!) Since we were all so tired, we fell asleep quickly with the TV still on. I woke up a bit later and sat up sleepily to see what was going on at the convention. It happened to be just in time for the keynote speaker for that night - an unknown guy from Illinois that I'd never heard of named Barack Obama. I listened for a couple of minutes and ended up absolutely transfixed. In fact, I started crying. Bawling. The next morning I told DH that Barack Obama was going to be our president one day. I absolutely knew that it was inevitable. I told my parents. I told anyone who would listen to me. I wrote about it in my blog. I hope I was right, and will find out in several hours if I was.
I absolutely admit that my support for Barack Obama at that point was visceral. He is a young, good looking man with an overwhelming aura of control about him. He is an electrifying and eloquent speaker. Visceral, perhaps, but the ability to inspire and persuade are not traits to dismiss when you are talking about the president of a large and powerful and influential country. Since that night, my support for him has remained.
In the very long (f*cking LONG) four years since that night, well... things have certainly played out on the world stage, haven't they? We are still sending our future, our young men and women, to Iraq into what I believe is a misplaced war (wrong place, wrong people). Many of these young people aren't coming home. Ever. We are in the middle of a global financial crisis that, I daresay, most of us don't understand. What I do understand is that within the past month no less than 6 friends have told me that they or their spouse have lost their jobs. The climate is changing with increasing speed as a result of global warming and folks? If you think these other issues are difficult to deal with, they will pale in comparison to this.
We have some very difficult times ahead of us and it is going to be a painful time for so many people. That's not going to change regardless of who we elect as president. In the short term, it's going to hurt. But it is crucial that we pick someone who is going to move this giant elephant back into the right direction. We need someone who is wise enough to listen to experts and discuss options. We need someone who will move beyond politics and be honest with the public. We'll need the cooperation of the world to do this - this country cannot continue to exist in such isolation as it has for the last decade. We've got to put that arrogance aside and realize we are part of the global community. The opinion of the rest of the world about this election is obvious. My friend in England just yesterday sent me an email to wish me luck with "our revolution." It's an important election for them, too.
I could continue for days on individual policy points and why I believe Barack Obama is on the right track, but I won't. This post is a personal one for me, a visceral one. I have been waiting for this day for a long time. I don't know what the outcome will be. I do know that there will be tears tonight, no matter what it is. I'll have my champaign handy, in case I need it. I'll be at the computer with my cell phone handy so I can enjoy this night with my personal gang (Mare, J, Polli, Jamie, Kath, Carrie...) who feel as strongly about this as I do. Ladies, if the world was made out of people like you, we'd be unstoppable. Maybe...just maybe today, we'll start moving in that direction.