Monday, November 10, 2008

More comments

1) This is from my sister, who runs a maternal health program in Pakistan, who captures beautifully how Americans living abroad feel (prior to Pakistan, she lived in Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique and Sudan -- yes, I have an international family!):
We had an Obama victory party last night [in Karachi] and I was the only American -- everyone else was from probably 10 different countries and I toasted and spoke about what this moment meant to me – that I am from a generation born at the end of the civil rights movement and that we grew up in schools learning about the great things that were done by our parents generation to help change America for the better to end racial discrimination and we grew up learning about Martin Luther King and his I Have a Dream speech and to be proud of that, but that now I feel like I am part of a generation that is bringing change for the better to America.
For the first time in many many years I am actually proud to be American again. I have spent the better part of my whole career overseas hiding my head and dodging the question when people ask me where I’m from because I’m embarrassed about US government policy and how negatively the world has viewed the U.S. But last night I felt proud again to be American. I can lift my head up again because we have proven that we can correct our mistakes and because Obama makes us feel that truly anything is possible again in America. I was overwhelmed and was choking up. It was moving.
Others in the group also shared what it meant to them. A friend who is a gay British white man who has adopted 4 black African children from Sierra Leone told about how he woke up to show his 6-year-old son Obama on TV and could say to him: “Look at Obama – he is the President of the United States and he looks like you.  You can be anything you want to be in life.” Others spoke about how they really never imagined that Americans would actually elect a black man to be president and placed bets against it -- and how astonished they were that America actually did elect a black man and how happy they were to be proven wrong. Others spoke about how growing up outside of America people have this perception that America is the land of opportunity and possibility, but that they had become skeptical, but that this election really showed to them that America is really truly the land where dreams can come true, where anything is possible. Many people said that they believe America is the only country on earth where this would have been possible. It was as if people were regaining faith in America. I was really moved by how much this means not only for Americans but for so many people around the world.

I woke up this morning and went downstairs and took Benjamin on my lap and said, “Benjamin, we have a new president and his name is Obama, and we are so happy and so proud of him, and we are proud of America and we are proud to be American” and I turned on the TV and showed him Obama and he gave a BIG smile and said “Obama!” J

  The only sadness in the day was that California and a number of other states overturned the right to gay marriage. My dear friend Emma and her wonderful partner Sophie were married on November 2 so I would like to offer them my congratulations and then sorrow that not enough American’s are open minded and open hearted enough to give equal rights to everyone. I hope that the law is again overturned soon. And in the meantime, fight to retain your rights, and let us know how we can help.

2) From another friend:
I am ecstatic about Obama's victory. 

For me, however, it is bittersweet.  Just as Obamas victory marks the great advances on the path of social justice and equality...  The loss of prop 8 in CA and other anti-gay ballot initiatives in the country show how far there still is to come. Never before has America taken away rights fairly won. Yet marriage won by the LGBT community in CA has now been stripped from us.  

Please pass this along to your readers and ask their help in this new time. 
3) From a friend who runs a network of highly successful charter schools:
This election was critically important to me -- as a loyal Democrat with a background in politics, but on a more important note, as one who has dedicated his life to serving minority communities and its children. My liberalism began in college in the 60's and has been strengthened by all that I've seen. The parents I work with have the same hopes and dreams for their children that my parents had for me and I have for my children. The difference is the struggles they face on a daily basis.
Their plight has worsened during the last eight years as with most Americans. Their future has a chance now, their children have a chance now-not because of one day, but because of what they have endured during the last eight years has been brought to an end.
I cried last night as did so many. As I told a board member today, I feel that my life is complete now.


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