A week ago this morning, the world woke up to the definite news that President Barack Hussein Obama was indeed elected President of the United States for a second term. He had a decisive electoral and popular vote victory of the challenger, Governor Mitt Romney, who finally, after midnight, conceded the election because he was (1) in denial that all the race and class filled hate ads, (2) all the voter suppression, (3) all the demonizing the female body, (4) all the homophobia, (5) all the religious ranting, and (5) all the scaring the white people, simply wasn't enough to get him to 270.
The week progressed (Florida was still counting votes) to finally giving that number that was an overwhelming mandate - 332 to 206. He won every constituency except white males, older white seniors (except he won Florida!), Cuban Americans, white married women (most likely because they are married to white men who control their lives), and the so-called christian religious extremists who predicted the end of the world if the black man won again.
Women were the sheer winners in the Democratic gains in the United States Senate. I proudly watched as state after state was called for another woman. My daughters were jumping up and down with me, this was a clear message to men that you don't rule anymore.
The House was a different story. 2010 ushered in a way of teaparty republicans and those "legislators" without experience but who scared up enough xenophobia to be elected. They then gerrymandered districts so severely that they were reelected. States that elected President Obama, voted for a Democratic Governor and U S Senator, ended up with a Republican Congressman. Order of business this term is to end that as well as making voting uniform so the shenanigans of Philadelphia, Ohio, and Florida do not happen again (incidentally...President Obama won all those states!)
I woke up that next morning feeling more hopeful and alive because the vast groups of the country, now the majority, came together to firmly state that hatred and religious dogma will not rule us. We are a country on land not our own (the Native peoples of the United States were here first, the rest of us are the true illegal immigrants...well, except for black people who were stolen from our homelands and forced here to build this country for the white Europeans (English and Dutch) who stole the lands and the Mexicans who were the native peoples of California, Arizona, Nevada, and parts of Texas before the whites took that over...but I digress) and are a country of diverse peoples who all ended up in this place that is supposed to be a democracy, supposed to stand for equal rights, supposed to support religious freedom and human liberty.
Black people, Latino People, Asian and Pacific Islander People, Native People, Young People, LGBT People, and Single Women all formed a tapestry that wove the new flag for our country. A representation of true democracy and Of The People governing. We got the message sent by the outside groups doing everything from misleading posters in black neighborhoods, wrong polling places in Spanish language ads, attack ads on television, robocalls, and just plain lying through their teeth - we were not a part of their agenda, their version of America.
It has been a week since I woke up and it was truly a fact that President Obama is indeed in for a second term. I listened to the next morning news for the remainder of Election Week sparse out the map (the southern former slave states are still red, haven't changed since slavery times) that decided it all; discuss the changing electorate (Majority Minority Nation); banter about Karl Rove and his denial - even when his own mouthpiece of Fox News called it for President Obama once he won Ohio; and finally, tell the republican party that their time of division is over, their time of being the party for the wealthy is over, their time of running the commentary of the nation is over - thirty years is enough. We saw a generation change and a take over. The Baby Boomer and the Gen X running mate were the last of their breed of the GOP on a national scale. We want something different.
President Obama once said we are not a white America and a black America, a red state and blue state America - We are the United States of America. I hope we all see that, even as state after state has been calling for session (Texas has been doing that every since the Civil War so they don't count) and poorer working whites in some red states are literally losing their mind (thinking of Rolla and Springfield, Missouri - in my homestate) that the black man truly was the best for the country, that the white man is no longer the standard bearer of what is proper behavior, what is proper governance, what is the proper image of a family man (General Petraeus just shattered that for us), what an American looks like - all that ended on election night - even a white man in one of the suburbs of St. Louis where I live wrote a nice essay to the Republican Party of why they lost the election!
Once the ranting is over, once the racism boils over - it is out there now, without the sheets - we know your moves, we know who you are from Papa John's Pizza and their "price increase because of Obamacare" to the CEO who literally fired people after the election to the woman who ran her husband over to the young woman who ended up being fired for her rant, to firing and closing of plants in St. Louis among other places because people dared to strike for a fair wage - good bye Hostess Twinkies, to the McDonald's that hung the flag upside down and the Applebee's that went nuts - we have seen who you are and we will not patronize you, we will ignore you, and your will fail - people stood in long lines for their freedom and freedom won.
In the days and months and years ahead, I know we will survive as a country, we will shift our thoughts, heal our wounds, create a new and better place for our children. It will be a place where truly the color of our skin won't be the only thing about us. It will be a place where women no longer make less than men and where our bodies are no longer up for government probing. It will be a place where a family does not go bankrupt over healthcare costs. It will be a place where corporations will not rule and the wealthy pay their fair share. It will be a place where someone who wants to work can work and not have to give up their dignity and family time to do it (even though Wal*Mart is opening at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day - people have protested and planned alternatives to Black Friday to send a clear message that we do not support this, the consumers do not want to consume that just so another CEO can make an exorbitant salary while enjoying his Thanksgiving turkey and his employees won't even get a turkey sandwich...Target, we sent you notices and hope you change your mind of following...you will still get sales!). It will be a place where everyone can get a 21st century education regardless of their family income, their zip code, and their race. It will be a place where truly, truly, we can have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
He is still President and we are still here - all of us, even the ones who threatened to move to Costa Rica and Canada - we are still here and we are all still Americas. Now, let's get on with it.