And Obama wins the presidency.

I’m happy.

But I’m not ecstatic. I didn’t cheer, and I didn’t cry. Reading my feeds and friendslists, I wonder if I’m dead inside.

He won. They won. I voted for him, so I suppose I can say ‘we won’ but that feels a bit hollow, since all I did was vote, watch a couple of speeches, and listen to Kevin a lot. But winning, while an achievement, a historic and beautiful one, is not what I’ve been waiting for. It’s what comes after winning, llike a legendary term in office. Maybe I’ll cheer for the things he does. Maybe I’ll cheer if he speaks out about the horror winning in California.

Let’s be clear. I really, really like Barack Obama. I’m comfortable with my reads of people, and it took one speech for me to not only decide the man was the leader I wanted, but to also become so impressed by him that if he made a decision I disagreed with, I’d let him have the chance to convince me of his choice before speaking out against it. This is what I picked up from him: that he is a real, grounded man possessing both a keen intelligence and a deep and moving compassion. Compassion is the foundation of wisdom, and wisdom is worth trusting, or at least listening to.

Other things moved me, too. I watched him walk into a calling center and announce his intention to talk to a few voters, and I was immediately struck by his command of the room. He was not just a compassionate man, but a leader with a powerful presence. And in little snatches, there’s more:

He loves his family. His jokes make me laugh.  He bore a vicious campaign cycle with grace and humor, and an honor that seems strange, uncommon, and only recently reciprocated. If he and his family lived next door, my life would be immeasurably enriched.

The man himself can make me cry. He can move me.  But his victory tonight earned a ‘Well, OK then.’ Because there are so many people who don’t see him the way I do: who see a liar, a destroyer, a politician (and all politicians are corrupt and empty, donchaknow). Who see an enemy, or a Democrat, or a skin color. Who no longer see at all, but only remember what they learned long ago. Who voted for Obama, but voted to amend the California constitution to restrict rights. Who turned off his acceptance speech before he got to the part about them.

He knows they’re out there and he wants to reach them, and that’s a good thing. But he’s about to enter a machine that is even worse than election hell, and I’m a little afraid for the man he is. Because he touched me, he moved me, he made me love him, but even his amazing speeches couldn’t make me embrace hope.

I wish, though, that I could (even if it’s the worst of Pandora’s plagues). The joy it has borne is beautiful.

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One thought on “And Obama wins the presidency.”

  1. I was surprised at my depth of feeling when the election was called. I didn’t do much more than vote, read some emails, donate a little bit of money, but I’d hoped that this wish would really come true, because I hope so hard that he really can make a difference. He’s coming into a hell of a bad situation, and is not going to have an easy time of it, but I do have hope it’ll be right and good. Springs eternal, after all, and I always have a small hope inside me, even when I feel my bleakest.

    Which is how I’m feeling about Prop 8; I keep tearing up in succession, thinking of Obama and the measure, first happy and then so upset, and it’s really putting me through the ringer. I just don’t understand how here, of all places, we’ve voted for discrimination. This hits people I know and love on such a deep level, and it breaks that hope in more than a little way.

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