Please, try to stay with me here. I'm very tired. I'm going on limited sleep. We were at the final Obama rally in Virginia on Monday and didn't get home until nearly 2 am; we worked the polls all day Tuesday and couldn't sleep again until 2 or 3 am...I will try to be coherent. And, I will try to stay calm. Both, at the moment, might be a little difficult.
My children do not have the luxury of being colorblind. My little boys (ages 9 and 6) have looked at the pictures of the last 43 presidents and noticed that none look like them. They know that Barack Obama is the *only* Black senator (there's not as much diversity on the Hill as we'd like to think) They know that we had presidents who owned slaves. They know that mommy and daddy couldn't have gotten married in Virginia 45 years ago. They know that there are people who don't like them simply because their skin is darker, and that sometimes, things aren't quite fair...simply because their skin is darker.
Last night, my daughter and I went to a victory party. We were happily eating buffalo wings, cheering lightly as the Dems got one seat after another. Then, they called Virginia for Obama. I stood up. I cheered. I screamed. And then I started sobbing. I had to sit down. Virginia. Virginia voted for a Black man.
The first slaves arrived in Virginia. The capital of the Confederacy is in Virginia. There were school systems that completely closed down for years so they wouldn't have to integrate. We had a senator who hung a noose from a tree in his office and pretended it was a lasso. There's still a slave block in the town where I grew up, about a block away from where Sarah Palin recently held a rally.
My husband and I were threatened when we started dating in high school. My parents were threatened. My last name, my married name, is the same as the man, the plantation owner, known in Virginia as "King Carter". Guess why.
So I cried. Then they called it for the nation, almost immediately, and the man next to me collapsed in tears. And my 13-year-old daughter suddenly stopped cheering, and just stood there, with tears streaming down her face. Because she knows exactly what this means.
This is beyond huge. To not acknowledge the significance of this election, to pretend it's "normal", does a massive disservice to this country, to Barack Obama, to the people who died not just so Obama could become president but so he could simply receive an education, and to--yes--my children. Who didn't have the chance nor the choice to be "colorblind".
Let your children celebrate the whole of this election.
The color of your skin and racial background is an issue in America and has always been. I've found that to be true in other countries as well.