Monday, December 01, 2008

Take a Breath

On 5 November 2008

Until the night when Barack Obama stood in the Chicago night and people shouted with joy, laughed and cried with joy, certain struggles always surged toward the future, a search as constant as breathing. The unexpected halt, for a night, in that single-minded intention, was like a slow, but powerful train engine coming to a sudden stop, all the cars it hauled clanging together behind it. All involved in the eternal journey toward the best that humanity can achieve might hestitate to pause, take an extra breath, and conceive that certain battles may have been won or may seem, for the moment, to have been won.

Before that moment, you did not stop to consider all the battles, reaching as far back into history as you like, the people involved, their patience and endurance, and then suddenly that crowd of dedicated humans is halted for a moment as Obama lifts a hand. All those millions in this particular wave of history, from FDR until now, stop for a moment to realize what seems to be victory.

You could not help but laugh and cry. Not used to such a moment, you take a breath, pay your respect to all who sacrificed so much, including their very lives, give credit to the millions who have walked thousands of miles in demonstrations, or countered reactionary forces in other ways, recalled the horrors of what was there to begin with, what demanded to be rectified, especially what was endured by African-Americans from the horrors of lynchings to the daily, hour-by-hour humiliations.

Such a surprise that a victory can come, or, to be more guarded about hope, that a certain plateau has been reached in the endless track of progressive people. It is all right, it is even necessary, to stop for a moment and scan the scene. Can we say that President Obama is on or near that mountaintop that Martin Luther King foresaw that he might not reach? To share this moment with others is part of the process. It is all right to say something has been accomplished and not fear that a moment’s relaxation, a moment of joy, is a dangerous indulgence. Rather, a moment of celebrating together, a celebration of rapport, is the heart and purpose of the process – the solidarity of humans involved with a loving purpose (not united in hatred), the end of the isolation and division that oppression imposes on people.

Now, to continue....

1 comment:

mouse (aka kimy) said...

friends from dc were here for thanksgiving and helped make up my mind about attending the inauguration! of course I have no expectation of being able to actually see anything, but I want to to be in that sea of energy and to be able to be in the vicinity of that part of the history being made....

I love the stairway 'eye'

hope you had a good thanksgiving. holiday hugs to you!