The World Exhales
Is it an exaggeration to say the global village's heart is opening up?
I've been accused of giving light poles the benefit of the doubt, so despite the occasional appearance of my snarky writing personality (I am Gen X, after all), I tend to be an optimistic person. So what follows is coming from a space I have never felt in my short but long Republican dominated life: a totally joyous frickin' feeling. Yeah, joy. I said it.
It won't be a surprise, then, when I tell you that when I discovered yesterday morning that Obama had won (I'm in Italy so I didn't know until 6:00 am), I wept. And wept. Never in my life have I cried as a result of the political process (no doubt, when Bush won his second term, my feelings were equally strong, but on the morbid end of the scale).
As I watched reactions and celebrations on the net I felt like I was witnessing something unprecedented in American history, as if a war had ended. I don't want to analyze too much people's reactions, because everyone has different reasons for feeling what they are feeling right now (I can't imagine what those on the right are going through, but maybe a little taste of their own medicine will do them good), but there is little doubt that the spontaneous nature of these public outbursts (such as college kids dancing in front of the White House, or Kenya declaring a national holiday) is reminiscent of those situations when you are released from an oppressive relationship, like quitting a shitty job, or divorcing your business partner, or leaving an abusive spouse.
These are tears of connection and opening, not of mourning or loss.
I think for Americans this is a bit like our Berlin Wall moment. In the end all historical analogies are false, but what is pertinent here is that some kind of bottled-up oppression and fear has now been dissipated (for the moment). And for that I can say wholeheartedly that I have never been happier to see the genie of hope freed from its bottle, to scurry about and do its mischief.
We may end up being disappointed, or find that business as usual will prevail. But I feel as if the evil empire's illusion of control is melting like the Wicked Witch of the West under a pail of Dorothy's water. Evidence for such a claim comes from the fact that negative and fear-based election ads backfired on the Replicans. Even if it/they choose to reassert themselves at a later date through some nefarious means (I don't want to imagine that right now), for now I think all the conspiracy nuts can eat some crow for Thanksgiving and be grateful that we still have a modicum of democracy to emerge with; democracy, after all, is always unfinished business. It's a process and architecture for change.
This moment is genuinely the first time in my life I have felt good about my country, it has restored my faith in people to take charge when it's truly necessary. This doesn't make me a patriot or nationalist, just hopeful that our "newness" is an asset that enables us to innovate and reinvent ourselves, which is particularly important at this crucial juncture in history. The fact that the Internet was so important for getting Obama elected should give us a sense that we are moving in the right direction. In Italy, with its current rebirth of fascism, it's nice to see hope on the other side of the world energize the opposition here in Europe.
Godspeed the next four years. Now it's time to do the real work of democracy and to change our culture of separation and destruction one heart at a time.
Photo by mdumla98, courtesy of Creative Commons license.Tweet