I can't express the numbness I feel post-2008 Election.
It has been a long long road and frankly I'm exhausted.
Tuesday night, American took it's 1st steps into adolescence and elected the best man for the job regardless of color, creed, or prejudice. I'm not naive...there was plenty of prejudice out there.
Prejudice disguised or wrapped in 'simple' critiques or flat-out statements from folks that I pity in the long run. Take 'Charles' for instance.
'Charles' is a guy who I went to middle / high school with...He was gregarious and loud, always quick with a pun at someone's expense, and generally treated people who were different like total shit.
'Charles' is the 1st kid my age in middle school who used the word 'nigger' where I could hear it and understand its context. Now I'm sure I'd heard it in movies or in music but this was face to face. And it was in reference to our 7th grade teacher who was African American.
Recently upon reconnecting through one of those nostalgia social networking sites, he and I became 'friends'. I honestly can't understand why we 'befriended' each other...When we parted company at age 18 for college and whatever the hell he did with his life we weren't friends. We had 'mutual friends' but we had nothing for each other. It was a two-way street. As bigoted and ignorant as he was, I offered him nothing appealing in the friend department I'm sure.
So we 'friend' up on the site and political debate ensues as the election nears. His anti-Obama views were and are centered on race but he's either too smart to admit it out loud, or too ignorant to know what he's so upset about. I'd lobby for a healthy mix of the two, leaning towards the former.
It just ginned up a whole lot of resentment and feeling about how the kids in my area were raised...Meaning devoid of experience, culture, perspective. It's dangerous. It bred a generation of willfully ignorant and braggadocios blowhards.
But although I had no chance of getting out of my youth without falling in line with this type of short-sightedness...I did. I made it. And others did too, here and there.
And Tuesday we put Hope in the office of the President.
I'm no historian but as Dan Carlin would say, I'm a fan. The Civil Rights era has always been a central point to understanding the cultural and economic plight of blacks in the south. My congressman is John Lewis...I mean how much better can you get? (John Conyers maybe, but screw living in Michigan)
So I've always been someone who took it upon himself to learn more about what people endured just to go to a shitty public school near their home instead of being bused across town to the black school, or the psychological effect of having the Governor of your state BLOCK THE DOOR so you can't attend college because of the color of your skin.
The problem with this arm-chair Conservatives is that they blame people for systemic problems inherent in society that have been against them for generations. Education, equality in the workplace, and general discrimination on all fronts. Hurdles as opposed to the relatively smooth track that me and my Classmates had to navigate. We went to good schools. We came from good economic backgrounds. We could afford higher education to better ourselves.
And when others didn't or couldn't meet those standards and couldn't go the same routes we did, the failure is on THEM.
Not the system, but THEM.
It's preposterous and whenever I hear someone like 'Charles' talk the GOP talking points and feign like it's an original thought it saddens me. Not for any other reason than this person is willfully or systemically ignorant. And if they weren't, oh the places we could go with them on board the American experiment.
I'm just tired and exhausted.
Tired of the doom, tired of the gloom, and tired of the blame being put on the people who want progress.
"We shouldn't free the slaves, it will ruin the economy and our way of life" - WRONG
"We shouldn't let women vote, they're the fairer sex" - WRONG
"We shouldn't let negros vote" - WRONG
Historically this rhetoric has been applied to every major progressive benchmark. Doom and gloom...until it eventually happens. Then what? Does the world go up in smoke? Does the country implode into itself?
Chicken Little once thought the sky was falling.
But it doesn't.
And we grow up and put away our childish things.
Barack Obama is President of the United States.
Here's to hoping that people can act their age and treat him with the respect of the office and not their bigoted view based on the color of his skin.
ps - he's 1/2 white...does he at least get some extra credit for that?