yes, we did

I woke up this morning, convinced that it wasn’t real and it hadn’t happened and that I had drank myself into a hopeful alcoholic stupor and the real world would be very dark and gloomy. I bolted to the computer room, and there it was, on the front page of The New York Times: Obama! He won. He won.

I know that this is just the beginning–that there is such a long way to go for America, and so many things to be done, and so much that needs to be addressed, and maybe even half of what has gone wrong with this country cannot be fixed any time soon, and so much of how we have alienated the world can maybe not be taken back. I know that President-elect Obama has got a lot of hope riding him, a lot of expectations, that we’re all standing here in front of him, looking up with shining faces and waiting for him to wave his hand and just fix everything, make everything better, social justice for everyone, and for everyone a good night. An end to war, an end to poverty, an end to taxes and cancer and sadness and standardized tests. He will make it all better!



He might not be able to. But he is going to try, is what I believe, and
that is why I voted for him. This is just the beginning, and it’s going
to be hard but it isn’t anywhere near as terrifying as it was last
night, while we were waiting to hear about who it was, who was going to
have to take this scrambled mess in hand and start sorting through the
chunks, looking for the corner piece with the bit of sky. At nine
o’clock, I looked up from my glass of wine, and I thought it was a
mistake–a picture of Obama, the words 44th President of the United
States written across, in such large letters. “What?” I said. Wait,
what? What just happened?

“The polls closed in California,” E said. “They’re calling it for
Obama.” And right there on the couch I doubled over like I had been
punched in the gut, and I started sobbing on the dog. All that terror
and panic from all those months and weeks and days and hours, draining
out and leaving behind something unrecognizable–relief. Happiness and
complete, bewildered joy. Inspired and thrilled by politics, by my
president, for the first time in so very, very long.

This is why I am letting myself celebrate with the world (looking at those pictures will make you cry) and spin in circles and jump
up and down and randomly shout things like WOO and OH, MY GOD! And YES!
And President MOTHER-FLIPPIN’ OBAMA THAT IS WHAT I AM TALKIN’ ABOUT CAN
I GET A WHAT WHAT?

There will be time enough to worry and start wondering how the hell he
is going to pull it off; right now, I want to enjoy the sensation that
I think is labeled “hope,” which tells me that he just might pull this
right out of his hat.

  10 comments for “yes, we did

  1. Anonymous
    November 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Nobody can live up to those expectations :)

  2. anon
    November 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    I just wrote a very long, heartfelt, emotional comment that completely shared in your thoughts and feelings. It just poured out of me, I got teary writing it, and I so wanted you to see it, to know that I and others feel exactly the same, to hear some of what we (my man and I) have been talking about and hoping for these last many, many months, to tell you how some people (complete strangers even!) have been high fiving each other and laughing with delight–I live in NYC, and it’s like 9/11 except the polar opposite. You see, that day was beyond awful, but yet there was a comraderie and love among the people on the street, a sharing of the emotion, that I had never seen before or since…until today. But this time it was for a happy reason. And we are dancing in the streets.

    Anyway, I had the comment all typed out and tried to post, and then: comment submission failure. Damnit!

    Suffice to say that I hear you, sister, and I am with you. We drank and unabashedly cried and celebrated last night too. It was the SIXTH presidential election in which I voted; I am not a naive young child. And yet I am filled with hope and belief and promise.

    Yes. Yes, we did.
    I’ve been answering the phone here at work with that statement all day long!

  3. Becky
    November 5, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Yes, yes, YES we did!! :D For the first time ever, and for many others, too, I am patriotic. It however, is a bittersweet victory for me due to Prop 8 being voted through. :(

  4. November 5, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    You’re not kidding about those pictures! The one that got me the most was Martin Luther King Jr.’s sister.

  5. M.
    November 6, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Is it horribly wrong that I’m just like “Yeah. Well. Ok.”?

    The truth of it is that if it were McCain, I would be horrified of huge cuts in science funding, overturning of Roe v. Wade, and complete bungling of foreign policy. With Obama, I’m scared of huge cuts in security funding, a huge tax increase for people like my dad who doesn’t make a ton of money and is getting screwed hardcore by his union, and over-socialization of the country. Redistribution of wealth scares the shit out of me. Why? because I make 22000 a year now, but when I get out of grad school, I want my investment, my blood, sweat, and tears to pay off. I’m working my ass off and suffering now so I can enjoy myself later, and that may not happen. I’m simply not a socialist, and if the US changes, then there’s nowhere left to go.

    But then, when it comes down to it, politicians are politicians because they love power. It’s naive to believe that anyone who gets far in politics got there out of a completely pure desire to change the world for the better. I suppose if the Obama administration raises taxes too much, they (or the House or the Senate) will gradually turn over to whoever promises to lower taxes (historically, Republicans) and it’ll balance out.

    As it stands now, the only Republican worth paying attention to is Giuliani who’s been basically disowned from the party by everyone but NYers because of his socially liberal bent. The good thing that will come out of this is conservatives are going to seriously have to rethink their strategy. No more pandering to the hardcore right wackos. Simply put, McCain didn’t deserve to win. Obama wanted it more.

  6. Anonymous
    November 6, 2008 at 11:28 am

    M, your comments contain so many inaccuracies and repeated Republican slanders against Obama that I don’t even know where to start.

    But how about I start here, with the taxes: unless your dad (and, in the future, you) makes over half a million dollars a year ($600,000, to be exact), not only will Obama not increase taxes, he’ll give you a tax cut.

    Why is it that this well-disseminated information is so often ignored, and all we ever hear are the false accusations that the right wing has so willfully and intentionally been misleading the public with??

    Here’s the chart of both Obama and McCain’s tax plans, from the Washington Post:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/06/09/ST2008060900950.html

  7. M.
    November 6, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    No, I know that, but don’t you think an 8.5% or how about the 11.5% tax increase is ludicrous? I don’t know anyone who makes that kind of money, but these people worked for it!

    The idea of that turns my stomach.

    What right does the government have to say that someone is making too much?

    I want to start my own company. So does my bf. His starting salary with a PhD is going to be ~100,000 a year. Once I get my degree, I’ll be making in that neighborhood as well. Combined, McCain’s plan looks better. If we both successfully start our own companies, then who knows if they’ll work or fail, but if things work out, then who knows what we’ll make?

    Am I poor now? Absofuckinglutely. Am I working my ass off for less than minimum wage? Yes. A lot less, let me tell you. I don’t have television. I don’t get food stamps or low cost housing or any of the things other poor people get. This isn’t a Stupid Republican thing. This is an “I Come From a Very Long Line of People Who Start in the Shitter and Make It Better For Themselves” thing and don’t want the government taking it away if and when I make it.

    Obviously, I’m in a minority. But I’m happy wanting what I want. I don’t feel any kind of shame at all saying I want to get dirty stinking rich off my own effort. And I’m putting in a lot of said effort. I want my payoff at the end.

    Or am I just not working hard enough? Do you not think I deserve it? I get paid 50% less than a janitor, just to put it in perspective.

  8. Anonymous
    November 6, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Well, ok, then I guess it is just a matter of what matters to you.

    I don’t make anywhere near what would give me a tax increase either, but I actually know a few people who do. People (some in my family, as well as a few acquaintances) who also started in shit and made something of themselves. (This is NYC; it’s far easier, in comparison, to make that kind of big money in comparison to other parts of the country. Of course the cost of living is also exponentially higher.)

    But these people to whom I refer are actually liberal Democrats and, whether you believe this or not, they do not feel put upon with the proposed tax increase. I will remind you it’s only 0.1 percent of the population who ever see this kind of money or have to worry about paying more taxes. And the ones I know seem to feel some sort of social responsibility. Of course, this isn’t communism—no one is saying that a doctor should earn no more than a farmer. You have a right to work hard and earn more money and enjoy the benefits of that hard work.

    But I truly do know people who do not feel burdened or discriminated against by paying a little more, especially given the sad financial status of so many people in this country–not all the people struggling are lazy unmotivated losers, as you know. Some people don’t have the same opportunities as other people.

    Not only does McCain not propose any increase for this 0.1% who earn about half a million or more a year, he wants to give them a tax BREAK that is a higher percentage than the tax breaks he offered in the lower brackets.

    And if you earn less than $18,000 a year, Obama gives you a 5.5% break, McCain would have offered 0.2%. If you make up to $37,000 a year, Obmama is a 3.6% break, and McCain is 0.5% break. Up to $66,000 and Obama offers 3.4% break and McCain 0.7%. Seems to me in your current state, which you suggest is one of financial struggle, you would be far better with Obama. If you succeed and someday earn a ton of money, I want to believe that you would still care about those who struggle as you once did.

    Anyway. Maybe that kind of social consciousness among rich people is limited to the few I know.

  9. CF
    November 6, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Actually, I, like many New Yorkers, hate Giuliani now, because we suffered a tragedy and he hijacked it to advance his political career.

  10. M.
    November 6, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I disagree with McCain’s distribution of the tax cut, too. Reganomics had its time, but it isn’t now. I could see reversing his gradation of cuts making more sense.

    As one of the people on the bottom, I would (and do) invest any extra money I make that isn’t being used for health insurance, car insurance, groceries, rent, etc. that goes beyond my 3 months of Oh S*** funds. Tax cuts for the poor benefitting the economy? Yeah, of course.

    You could blame this on the fact that I’m a first generation American with a parent who fled a socialist country, but I absolutely do not believe in penalizing people for making it big. Really, my biggest red flag with Obama is his economic philosophy.

    Forced charity in the form of an astronomical tax hike is socialism, pure and simple. Please don’t be insulting; “Maybe that kind of social consciousness among rich people is limited to the few I know.” The rich heartless republican stereotype does not apply. I’ve done a good deal of volunteer work. If I’m ultimately successful, I would love to give back. But penalizing people with a bit of luck who’ve put in a lot of hard work? Ecchh.

    Think about it like this. According to this old US News article… http://www.usnews.com/blogs/americas-business/2007/11/30/small-businesses-big-paychecks.html
    …small businesses net on average just over the bottom of Obama’s 0 change tax bracket. With the economy tanking, these are the people he’s NOT going to help? To me, this makes no sense. Like I said, this isn’t a time for Reganomics, but neither is it a time for socialism. Never mind trickle down, but why not go from the middle? His tax plan leaves out employers of the middle (and lower) class(es). That makes no sense. If they lose their jobs, then it won’t matter what tax bracket they’re in bc they won’t have an income.

    You can argue that the government will be able to afford to support people with social services from the taxes of the very rich. Which may be true for about 5 minutes, but as a long-term policy it is very lacking. People tend to get comfortable. We have a tricky balance in this country. It’s like offering a screaming child candy to be quiet in the car. It’ll work until the child realizes every time he screams, he gets another piece. Meanwhile, the parents are suffering, the kid is screaming constantly, getting wired on sugar, and rotting his teeth to boot. It’s very utopian to think that we all can have everything we want, and everyone can be comfortable all the time. It’s good to want that. But human nature doesn’t let it happen, and so there has to be a threshold for what we expect from the government. I have family members who were on the public dole for periods of time, and they got off ASAP. It was a shameful thing. But when we start expecting it, the dependence grows, the stigma goes away, and we as a society lose a degree of self-sufficiency. Hence, a full-on social safety net likely won’t work. Something there is a good thing, mind you. Practically speaking, you can’t rely on the rich to fully fund the government, and there is a lot wrong with the idea, in principle.

    In summary, I don’t think Obama is the messiah. I don’t think McCain is the messiah, either. Hate the socialism, leery of the Reganomics. Eh. Hence, fiscally I lean more to the right. I hope I’ve explained to an extent that hopefully doesn’t come across as Evil-Hearted Republican. It’s certainly more nuanced than that… :)

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