Friday, November 7, 2008

T.G.I.F.: Democracy in action

A few months back I started a sporadic Friday series called T.G.I.F.: The Great Impossible Feat award.

And it strikes me that this Friday of all Fridays deserves a T.G.I.F. But it's not for Barack Obama and his campaign, although his election this past Tuesday to become our 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009 is, indeed, great and impossible. And I still feel choked up when I imagine this picture below as our First Family:


But the really Great and Impossible Feat is actually something we take for granted. That every four years, U.S. citizens who qualify to vote (age, felony record, mental competency, etc are potential barriers) are able to cast a ballot for the person they want to be their next President.


And during this election, people turned out in record numbers to vote. For the first time in a long time, people worked hard on behalf of the candidate of their choice--they CARED about WHO was elected. And even for those who didn't donate money or knock on doors or called people, they still did something that is really special: they voted.


[Look at these lines! When was the last time people lined up to vote like this? Or when was the last time record number of people showed up to vote early?]

People voted. And yes, the majority of American citizens voted for the candidate that I supported. And that makes me happy. But the thing is, this was a vote that was historic not just because it resulted in the election of our first visibly non-white, mixed-race, African American President--this was an election that also signaled that people COULD make a difference, that grassroots organizing DOES work, and that every vote COUNTS.


November 4, 2008 was democracy in action. It was historic. It was awe inspiring. And it was simple. People showed up to vote.


And THAT is the Great, Impossible Feat.

3 comments:

CVT said...

Another thing that is worth being thankful for - that, in spite of how easy it is (probably) to rig an election - that DIDN'T happen. Obama got the votes he got, and that was that. No violence or intimidation - we just got to vote. How many other "democratic" nations wish it could be the same for them?

kneedle said...

Hey! I've spent the past 45 minutes reading this blog (got here from Anti-Racist Parent/Racialicious) and I really like the variety and depth of your work here. I also appreciate the link to the Mixed Heritage Center! What I'm wondering is if you'd ever consider some coverage/analysis of those of us who are "invisibly" mixed-heritage - either because our ethnic heritage is classified in the same 'race' or because through the vagaries of genetics we don't 'look like what we are' (HATE THAT PHRASE, btw!). I know you've talked about your discomfort with the "Chinese-American" label because of your mother's nationality, and I loved it! Thought it was fascinating.

Anyway, it's just a thought. Keep fighting the good fight!

Regards,
Just another Jewish/white/native/Black American tired of "What are you?"

Jennifer said...

CVT,
Because you and I tend to think along similar paths, I was also worried about voter intimidation and another round of "hanging chad" controversies.

So when CNN actually called the election at 11pm once the last of the West Coast polls had closed, I was honestly unprepared because I was CONVINCED that it wouldn't be until the next morning that I would wake up to the news of who our next President would be.

And even though I was one of the lone skeptics among my Obama-loving friends who wouldn't make any claims about a sweep, I was truly amazed when I saw Ohio, Virginia, and Florida go blue. I mean FLORIDA???

Anyway, even after a record voter registration drive, intense interest in the election, and mass media coverage, US voters STILL ranked at the bottom in terms of democratic nations around the world (we used to be 149th and now we moved up a few notches, but I don't think we cracked 100--which SERIOUSLY what is WRONG with us???)

Kneedle,
Thanks for finding your way to this blog! And for your comment. Of course I'd be happy to talk about "invisible" mixed-heritage/mixed-race people. I have in other places on this blog (I think "Gee you don't look____" with respect to a post on Tiger Woods may have tackled this, I can't quite remember since it was a year ago that I wrote that post). Thanks for the idea--and look out for a future post and I hope you will also feel free to comment and share your own observations/thoughts.