Last night I went to bed exhilarated, yet knowing I would sleep soundly and peacefully. I had seen something that was bigger than I could truly comprehend, something the likes of which I'd never seen in my lifetime. I woke early and saw the headline, triple-typefaced on the cover of the local paper- YES, HE DID. Like waking from a great dream I started to parse all of the things that had flooded my mind as I walked out the door, yet it was still too big to digest. Instead I noted the temperate weather & listened to the birds chirping in the trees. I thought of that same birdsong in the woods of Gettysburg, PA. On the dawn streets of Brooklyn, NY. Down in the Nevada desert. Everything was the same, yet different. Had someone really won a 330- seat electoral majority? Was that someone an American Democrat? Had they really, among a half-dozen other amazing, inspiring notions, reached out to gays and lesbians in their acceptance speech?
It was like things went from Star Trek to Star Trek: The Next Generation overnight. From chest-thumping, my-way-or-the-highway James T. Kirk to sublime, thoughtfully diplomatic Jean-Luc Picard. Like Americans had exerted an advanced sensibility that Star Trek creators hadn't expected to take hold until the 24th century. If that sensibility has existed enough in the hearts of the masses to be expressed in pop (speculative!) fiction, it must have laid dormant and unseen until now. But now someone was taking that positivity and running with it. Since we're talking in pop cultural terms (as this blog kind of has to)- this New Morning has come after a season-long identification with The Dark Knight.
But enough of that, because truth is greater than fiction. Truth now means that some might see how education, intelligence, and compassion makes one a valuable key in societies instead of a creepy, condescending snob. That some people on this morning, and in the days and weeks to come, might look on the people of African descent that they see around them with entirely new eyes, and be absolutely astounded at what they hadn't been willing or able to see before. That my Canadian self now looks on the image of the American flag in a completely different way than I did twenty-four hours ago. That I realize how subliminally stressed-out I've been over the last month or so.
I loved how Obama said he was looking forward to engaging with everyone, especially those he might disagree with. How my mind was racing and wrestling with all sorts of concepts during that speech, chief among them that hard work and hard commitment might get anyone anywhere. How John McCain, after seeming so dead-eyed with his own moral betrayals in the last few days of his campaign, gave the most graceful concession speech of all time. You could practically feel his relief at throwing off his horseshit electionmongering persona and ridding himself of a campaign in which he had to stand by and agree that everyone who ever attended a Republican rally was a Joe Six Pack or a Hockey Mom. When he shushed the booers during that speech with his hands, it seemed to translate as 'Okay. Now you can SHUT. UP. Thank God the best man won, I'm overjoyed to help him, and now I can more openly dismiss the people who call him an Arab and a terrorist.'.
Now you might be thinking, 'Come off it, Crawford, with all the dramatic language and overblown sentiments'. You might be sitting at work or at home pissed off that nothing good was on television last night, or discarding the rest of the newspaper to snap open the arts section. Maybe you've got a point. But maybe, come what may, you'll get the sense that something is vastly different about the world over the next little while. Maybe you'll begin noticing how Barack Obama will challenge our puffy, moonfaced, smug prick of a Canadian leader to step up his game. Or how all those Bruce Springsteen and Bright Eyes protest records from the last few years all of a sudden seem oddly outdated. Another record that hasn't aged well, and wasn't meant to, is fellow Canadian Neil Young's Living With War album. But I've been returning to one little lyric from that recording that seemed preposterously optimistic upon its 2006 release:
We're looking for a leader
To bring our country home
Maybe it's Obama
But he thinks that he's too young
Maybe it's Colin Powell
To right what he's done wrong
America has a leader
But he's not in the house
He's walking here among us
And we've got to seek him out.
Congratulations, America. You've got a real leader, finally. Now follow his lead, do what he suggests, don't stop working with him like you have been, and we'll see what happens.
"Just watch me." "I have a dream" to "Boldy go". Hurrah!!!!