Although I'd like to pretend that today was just like any other day, I have to face reality. Today we have elected President Obama for a second term in office. So many people I know in the south seemed to base their vote on the fact that he is not white. I hoped we had progressed beyond that, but the racist remarks regarding this president proves the point. Perhaps we should rejoice, because, after all, the racists didn’t win this election.
For my Republican friends, I extend my condolences because I think you might have seen the last chance to elect a man who holds the old conservative views. It seems the country has moved away from what the typical white man of the south thinks is important. More women will have their say in the future, and most women, even if they don't tell their husbands, will vote to have control over their own bodies. Most women will vote for good health care for their children.
Our country is more diverse in population than it has ever been. This country began by welcoming those who sought refuge here. In recent years, immigrants came and took the lowest paying jobs in our society, the hard jobs of working in the fields, the jobs that uneducated black people held in times past. The white people who once controlled the black population, either by denying privileges or, at worst, murdering them when they forgot "their place", had little power over the more recent immigrants.
Large farms in the south have depended on migrant workers from Mexico for many years and were responsible for bringing them here, but I don't hear anyone making laws to punish the farmers. These immigrant workers are now all over the country, often in businesses where management doesn't pay decent wages. President Obama actually has deported more illegal immigrants than any other president, but that tidbit of information hasn't seen much light. By whatever method was legal and humane, he has been able to stifle the flow somewhat. I think more will be done in the next four years.
I believe young people the age of my great nephew, a freshman in high school, will see a woman president, and probably a United States citizen, descendant of Latino parents, become president in their lifetime. And why not? Why do people think that only white men possess the skills to lead us?
My mother's generation was taught to believe that, and too many in my generation still accept, that the male is most capable of leadership. I am surprised to learn how many women would not vote for another of their gender for president. These same women are often the movers and the shakers in their communities and in their homes and church. I think their natural intellect cannot displace the prejudice they harbor -- prejudice passed down for hundreds of years, that tells them women and people of color are not worthy.
I have faith in the ordinary people of this country. Perhaps because I see so many good people who care about their neighbors and fellow countrymen, especially when a natural disaster has devastated life. Maybe it takes years of living and living through loss to know what we should appreciate, what is most important in the big picture. Maybe compassion for others comes through our own suffering and sacrifice. I see differently now. Financial success can be fleeting. We all have our ups and downs, but in the long run American people, I believe, are generous with their time and their aid in a time of crisis.
I believe that the United States will see a future where a more cool headed leadership prevails, where greed for material things is replaced with concern for quality of life; for better education; for care of the elderly and concern for human life— where war is not the first course of action considered, but the last option taken.