Friday, November 7, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says--The Day After: 18 Post-Election Thoughts and Reflections

My grandmother used to always tell me to be careful what I wished for because it may come true. As I come down off of my Obama induced high and begin pondering the implications of his victory I am still beset by mixed feelings. I am so very happy, but I still remain quite worried.

And yes, we did get to see history happen rather than to be a witness to it. God, I can't describe how amazing that feels. But now, we have to grapple with the implications of what could be (or not) a sea change in how think about race and politics in this country.

As a follow up to my "22 Things About the Election that I am both Excited and Scared About," I would like to share:

The Day After: 18 Post-Election Thoughts and Reflections

1. We were so happy on election night: the cheering, screaming, crying, and pride. How soon will that joy turn into anger and disappointment?

2. And if we were so happy on Tuesday Night, why were they so miserable?

3. Obama's victory is a struggle between the symbolic and the practical. Which side will win out?

4. We finally got the ball and now have to run with it. What if we get the ball, run with it, and don't score a touchdown? What if they have rigged the rules to keep us from scoring?

5. An exceptional black man named Barack Obama will be president. When will a person of color who is below average and a failure of a man--someone like George Bush--get to be president? Would the latter be more progress than the former?

6. As they look down on us, are Martin, Malcolm, Sojourner, John Brown and Harriet smiling? Or as they look down on us, are Martin, Malcolm, Sojourner, John Brown and Harriet shaking their heads because we don't know what is waiting for us around the corner?

7. I am happy that many people voted for Barack Obama because he is black. I am saddened that many people voted for Barack Obama because he is black.

8. Where do WE go from here? Where do THEY go from here?

9. A change is gonna come. Or is it?

10. Three words: White, conservative backlash.

11. Publicly, we were/are so excited . Privately, what are we afraid of?

12. They can hate us but love him: Some people dislike black people yet voted for a black man because of the economy. Is this racial progress? Are we just treading water? Or is this a step backwards?

13. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is true in physics and in politics. What will the opposite reaction be?

14. The scholar in me is both scared and excited. Part of me is biting at the bit to work through how this moment matters for the study of race, ethnicity and politics. Another part of me is worried to death that so much of what we know will be forced into obsolescence. The plain old American part of me is excited and happy about how exceptional we can indeed be as a people. The Black American part of me is joyous and proud...but is waiting for the other shoe to drop.

15. Yes WE can. And you know what, yes THEY can too.

16. I am happy that little black boys and little black girls will grow up in a world which has known a black president. I am really scared that little black boys and little black girls will still be penalized for being Black--and these little black boys and little black girls won't have a language to describe what they are experiencing.

17. Right now, I am proud to be an American. Right now, I am scared to be an American.

18. Barack Obama's personal safety is guaranteed. Isn't it?

5 comments:

bluebird said...

These are concerns that I'm sure plague all of us. My mom (who didn't vote for Obama) basically said that she's afraid for us (the younger generation) and the generation to come because the decisions that he makes will affect us greatly, good or bad. So I'm joyous, yet cautious...we'll just have to see.

Reagan said...

#4 - I think anyone who has "caught the ball" has fear of not making it to the end zone. How it could be rigged to prevent a touchdown, though..? There are a lot of powerful people who want to see him succeed; unfortunately, he now has the burden of the presidency on him: caring both for the domestic, and, as appears quite dire, international - he does not appear pleased with Iran.


#5 is a fascinating question. He is truly an outstanding orator. I'm afraid that he does carry the "freight of the iconic" - and therefore it will take time to make the kind of progress you describe.

#18 - I truly hope so. I pray for his safety. Unfortunately, I have lived for several years south of the Ohio River. There is still some deep, troubling hatred in our country.

I sincerely hope that those who helped get him into power allow him to progress in his office without wanting "payback" for their efforts - but I suspect some Democrats are queuing up hoping to get their piece of the pie now that he is President-Elect. I hope this doesn't make him cynical about the motivations of others in his party. But the leftist illuminati will want their moment in the sun after regaining Washington.

drinkof said...

"When will a person of color who is below average and a failure of a man--someone like George Bush--get to be president? Would the latter be more progress than the former?"

Never. And no. For the simple reason that we do not ever need to have another W. Ever.

"7. I am happy that many people voted for Barack Obama because he is black. I am saddened that many people voted for Barack Obama because he is black."

There really weren't all that many people who voted for Obama JUST because he was black. For most, that was just bonus points.

"13. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is true in physics ..."

True.

"and in politics."

Not true, not even close.

Lady Zora, Chauncey DeVega, and Gordon Gartrelle said...

Some good comments. But one thought

@drinkof on folks voting for Obama because he was Black, I don't know there just may be more than one would like to admit. Is that good or bad? As I noted above, I don't know.

On equal and opposite reactions in politics. I have to disagree. Two key phrases. Mobilization and Counter-mobilization. Intervention and Blowback..i.e. see Iraq, 9-11, and our declining position geo-politically because of Imperial overstretch.

chauncey d

drinkof said...

Not to pick nits, but the original post indicated there was not only reaction (true), but that it was "equal and opposite". Your examples, and common experience, really argue against that.