Saturday, November 08, 2008

Where I Was

I'm not very good at calculating how long it takes to do things. But I try sometimes.

I teach a night class at Rio de Nada Community College, Sou Mo Campus. The class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I had scheduled individual conferences in place of the regular class meetings--not noticing that it would take place during election week. So, last week I asked the students if anyone would like to come in early for their conference and, of course, most of them did. So I started the meetings at 5 and finished them by around 8--giving me time (so I thought) to go somewhere and watch the election results come in.

I thought the vote-counting process would take longer.

I was tired (sleep continues to be an issue for me). But I had two stops to get to.

The first one was at a friend's house. It was on the way to the 2nd one at Back to the Grind.

As I got out of my car, a friend was leaving my 1st stop. He told me that McCain had just given his concession speech.

Dang! I would have liked to see that Live, that is.

I got into the party just in time to see Obama and his family walk out onto the stage.

What a speech. People in the room, not all of whom are strong supporters, wept. I left soon after because I was tired.

I showed both speeches to my classes the next day. I don't do this sort of thing often because I don't like to foist my politics on a captive audience. But this was historic. A barrier had been breached.

My other point for showing the speeches was to show how it's supposed to be after an election. One candidate concedes, graciously, and pledges his support to the winner--reminding his followers that we are all fellow citizens. The other humbly accepts the victory and strikes a conciliatory tone towards the other side.

Yeah, I know the fighting is about to start again, but there needs to be a cleansing in this country--kinda like right after 9/11, where people unite. Yeah, I know we actually became a more divided nation and that our president steered our attention away from who the real enemies were, but RIGHT after, we were pretty united.

I teach at an ethnically diverse school. When I played the Obama speech, some kids wept like Jesse Jackson. I know a lot of people don't like Jesse, or Al, for that matter. But Jesse Was there for much of the civil rights movement and saw a lot of people go down before their time. When you think of how many people died on the road to civil rights, you have to admit this is a pretty amazing election.

Bobby Kennedy predicted in 1961 that we might see an African American president within 40 years. He was about 7 years off. But that's a pretty good prediction.

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