Rebirth: Documenting Obama’s Historic Win

5 Nov

Live-blogging from my Blackberry.

I can’t really put into words this moment.

I didn’t think I would be so affected in this way. Witnessing Obama win state after state is an experience like non other. This man, who looks like me, holds similiar ideological beliefs as I do, and understands that being black and white isn’t a burden but a possibilty, makes me proud. It’s a similar feeling I had during the primaries when I witnessed Hillary make herstory. I’m moved beyond words.

I’m sitting here at a company election party writing by myself on my Blackberry while my co-workers indulge in finger foods and cheer at the screen projecting Obama wins. Though I write alone, I’m fulfilled. I’m witnessing history, herstory – our story, right before my eyes.

My mother-in-law (my brother’s wife’s mother) passed away yesterday of complications due to cancer.  She died alone. Some say that we choose to die alone while experiencing a surreal transition.   It’s a sacred moment, like when we’re born. No witnesses, no cameras, no documenting. Just alone.  

I’m awaiting Obama’s acceptance speech – alone. I feel like what I’m about to withness will be sacred. Profound. I suspect that I’ll cry being overwhelmed with heavy emotion. I suspect I will grapple internally when witnessing a shift in paradigm. I figure that I won’t fully grasp the miracle happening because I am apart of it, and made it so.  

I’m looking at Chicago’s Grant Park on television. Tens of thousands gather to witness history. It’s an amazing sight to see. People of all colors, socio-economic backgrounds, and genders convene on the lawn at Grant Park. United States flags wave proudly in the wind; folks r proud this time around because we feel change coming.

It can easily be argued that an Obama landslide is largely due to a failed Bush Administation.  I agree. But I also think that people respond to ideals aligned with radical change. Bush had something to do with it but so did Hillary’s monumental run and Barack Obama’s transformational message.  Things indeed do happen for a reason, even George W. Bush.

***

Barack Obama was just announced President-elect of the United States of America.

I’m crying.  I’m hiding behind my hair.  I’m fixated.  I don’t understand what’s happening.  I don’t believe it.

Co-workers approach me rubbing my back, hugging me.  I’m shaking my head.  Black Revlon mascara drips down my brown cheeks.

I just left the party and now I’m standing alone in the women’s bathroom stall at Bugby’s.  Crying.  I call my mom.  No answer.

White-raced women come in and out of the bathroom.  They notice me crying.  They smile at me.  They understand.

I call mom again.

“Mom, Barack Obama is our new President” I said to her.

“I know.  I never thought I’d see this day” she said to me.

“I’m crying right now mom” I said while listening to other women in the bathroom talk to their mothers and grandmothers on their cell phones.

“Awh, baby.  I know. I know” she says.

Walking back to the party my boss Robert Greenwald approaches me.  Smiling, he hugs me. Sobbing on his shoulders, I thank him.  He understands. 

This moment, though largely due to our efforts, is so much bigger than us.

I await Obama’s acceptance speech.  While waiting, I’m thankful John McCain acknowledges this moment in his concession speech.  Whether for political purposes or not – what’s said is said.  I’m just glad it’s over.

Trying to hold back tears I stand thinking about all that we need to accomplish in the following days.

It’s just the beginning.  Like I said in my 2005 documentary on Hurricane Katrina, we have so much work to do.

I pray, hope, plead, beg, and cry out that Obama uses his power wisely.  He represents us; you and I. Though, just like a child being reborn into this world for the first time, I hope all my crying isn’t in vain.

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7 Responses to “Rebirth: Documenting Obama’s Historic Win”

  1. Gilliebean November 5, 2008 at 4:56 pm #

    Beautifully written. And a huge victory for your company! I cried during Obama’s speech last night, too, and I am really proud of Americans for making this finally a reality. I have so much hope for what he can do for our country.

    You should read some of the world’s reactions to Obama’s win: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/11/05/international/i065558S84.DTL&tsp=1

  2. DEX November 6, 2008 at 7:58 am #

    Wow Tara! I continue to be amazed at how this election cycle has touched you and how you are able to convey your thoughts through cyberspace. Thanks for sharing.

    I’m really full right now and have been writing on different blogs everywhere for a few hours now. I just want to say this. There are few places on earth where it believed that God has given right to each individual. As we release some of those rights to give power to our leaders, there are even less places that know how to transfer that power in a peacefull way. One way or another we figure out how to do that every 4 years.

    Thank you President elect Obama for having the courage to run. May God Bless your first term. Thank you President Bush for your leadership in tough times. May God Bless you as you transfer power. God Bless the U.S.A.!

  3. DEX November 6, 2008 at 7:59 am #

    Oh and the “About” you section on this page is awesome!

  4. Patricia Srukes November 6, 2008 at 7:40 pm #

    Yes, Yes Yes. I am reminded of why Lennon chose Yoko. After going to one of her interactive art shows, he approached one exhibit which required him to climb a ladder.
    He did and came to a telescope. He looked through and read one little word. The word was “yes”. Yes to possible meanings, endings, futures, questions, relaionships, bridging, building, growing, learning, contemplating, and negotiating our lives. Yes Tara, your words reflect the micro ruminations of a global experience in taking in Obama’s victory, and that for our country. Your words are deeply moving.

    Through your words we review our own expressions of joy and exuberance. Through your words I am challenged to see Obama’s bi-racial reality, as well as his African American experience. Through your words I am reminded of the one-drop rule which permeates racial identity even today.

    We have been taught to understand blackness as a pervasive infection of racial identity. We are betwixt and betyween because when black people claim their true heritage which includes whiteness, indianess, asianess, latiness, and/or arabness, we are perceived as denying or trying to escape our racial realities. But, since like Obama we walk through the world being categorized instinctively in one monolithic way, we are forced to accept the legacy of such a denial.

    We know we are many, and maybe one day whites wilolo recognize the absurdity of the category, and blacks will have the oppportunity to establish themselves without the cloud of a stigma constantly challenging who we might be and become.

    It has happened finally. A black man has “become” President. I never believed it would happen. I so hope that those who do not understand our culture and our people will take the time to really see our response and understand the depth of our wounds.

  5. tara l. conley November 11, 2008 at 7:39 am #

    @ Dex

    Thank so much my dear, for appreciating the “About” section 🙂

  6. vlcdes October 24, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Don’t know why I got here today … loved your story recalling then … I look forward to your story on November 6, 2012! Continued blessings for all that you do, even when you may not know what you do … and how it touches others.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Caught In Transformation: A Reflection on the 2008 Presidential Election and Athlete Activism « The Life & Times of a Blogger - November 6, 2008

    […] am still coming down from my high.  I simply cannot put into words this threshold moment. We are in the midst of transition as if […]

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