A secret, filter-free:
Not only do I still find it unbelievable that Barack Obama won — and I mean literally unbelievable; as in it feels exactly like when I realize that I’m dreaming because something impossible has happened — but I actually start to tear up if I think about it too much.
The civil rights movement is extraordinarily inspirational to me (more than any other single event/person/process/etc), and seeing a black president just 40 years after Martin Luther King was murdered fills me with an emotion so unexpected and intense that I don’t have a name for it.
To be clear, this isn’t about politics. I’m not interested in what happens to taxes or guns or gas prices in the US. What moves me is to see a black American carry himself to the office of president through the power of oration, motivating a culture that has never trusted the establishment to participate in it instead of combating it.
I’m Canadian, but my grandfather was a black man born in Philly, and his family name — the same name I was born with — is the name of the white family from Virginia that owned his (and my) ancestors, not that many generations ago. Seeing things come full circle from slavery is a deeply personal and powerful experience.
We’re certainly not in Dr. King’s world yet, where a man is judged by the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin; but we are one step closer to the brotherhood he dreamed of, and that moves me very nearly to tears every time I think about it.
I almost didn’t include any family history in this, because I feel like people will write me off as soon as they read it. It makes it easy to treat me as someone who’s just happy one of his own is on top (even though I’m not black), rather than a spectator who is ‘legitimately’ amazed by what a group of people have managed to accomplish in such a short amount of time.