Like many folks, I turned down a ton of invites to go to watch parties, block parties and other election events last night. I really wanted to take in the victory in a private setting.
I think about my 81-year old grandfather, who grew up in North Carolina. One of 21 children, he dropped out in the ninth grade to support his family. He grew up having to use the side entrance to enter buildings and order food. I can't wait to talk to him this morning. Both of my Grandmothers have passed on; I wonder how they would feel today.
I think about all of my friends, who despite my badgering in previous years voted for the first time in this election.
I think about my parents. My father was one of the first black salesmen at Xerox and has always fought to show me that America is a land of possibilities; he knew I needed an education to truly make an impact in this world. "Big Pop" literally staged a one-man sit-in at the school board to make sure I got into the best schools in Philadelphia. He went to every single parent-teacher conference. In fact, he created his own conferences because my teachers knew he was likely to show up at my school any given day of the week. And so did I.
I think about my Mother. A single Mom from the housing projects of Philly, she started as one of the first black switchboard operators at our local phone company, got her GED and became one of the employees that created the Verizon cell phone network. Despite losing a 5-year old child in a gang crossfire shooting (while she was pregnant with me, I might add), she never gave up. She built herself up, and took every educational course that she could in her efforts to create a better life for her family. All of her children went to college. Despite being hit by a pickup truck and seriously injured in downtown Philadelphia two weeks ago Mom was at her polling place when it opened, standing in line and leaning on her crutch to vote.
This is what I think about this morning. America is a country of possibilities. Barack's victory is a great American story.
I know many affluent people that voted for Obama. Most of them are business owners, and they are not worried about the difference in taxes that they might pay.
I think that Barack will have a moderate administration and presidential tenor. Most of the fear-mongering that has happened about being "liberal" will not come to pass. Can we get past all of the labels for once and just work together to improve America? That's what Barack's brand of "change" is all about.
This will not change America overnight. This will not reverse the economic problems in one fell swoop. But it does show that anything is possible.