Wednesday, November 05, 2008

what now?

I've dreamed about this day for a long time, and I've been thinking a lot about what I would have to say. I think that this e-mail I wrote to my girlfriend (who is in Chile with her father for a couple of weeks) earlier today sums up most of my feelings pretty well.

[Maxine] -

It's only now, half a day after the fact, that I'm able to gather myself enough to string together a few sentences to you. And that, quite frankly, is still difficult.

I just feel so full today, of life, of energy, of optimism (and, unfortunately, of alcohol - we really cut loose last night), and for so many different reasons. I think we elected the right person for the job. I'm excited that our country has a chance to regain our standing in the world (although your article pointed out that we have a tough road to hoe). I still can't believe that someone who looks like me will be leading this country - my country. I feel an ownership of America that I've never quite felt before.

They always say that it's darkest before the dawn. And I don't want you to think that I'm thinking of Obama as some sort of Messiah or something (although my father made a great analogy about following Jesus Christ "no matter what he looks like" last night), but the last eight years have been as bleak as you can get, with hijackings and bombings and wars and the economy in freefall and unchecked's been very, very dark. Last night, I think, was the crack of light appearing in the east, the one that leaves you breathless when you see it.

[One of the guys in the cast] sent me a text this morning: "What now?" which I think is the perfect question. I think that the only way that Obama fulfills his promise is if WE all band together and help him, you know? It's going to require sacrifice and dedication and hard work from the entire country to pull us out of this mess, and I just hope people are as committed to what comes next as they were to getting us to this point. I think it just might happen.

One last thing. [Our director] yesterday came into the dressing room and said something to the effect of, "Hey man, we don't have any excuses anymore! We got to pull ourselves together," which was super ironic, because I had been having those exact thoughts the other day (and [the director] and I NEVER agree on anything). I'm really interested to see where my people go from here, whether we can use last night as a springboard to propel ourselves forward or not. Judging by the faces and emotions I saw last night, I think this could be a seminal moment in black history.

OK, enough pontificating. What a day yesterday was! It was funny to get all sorts of messages yesterday from people. [A friend] said there were people cheering in the streets, and apparently 125th Street was crazy. [Two other friends] said that Brooklyn was jumping. [A third friend] was chest-bumping [a very famous actor] (he's got a recurring role on [a tv show] this season, as if I needed another reason to watch it).

I was sitting at tech all day yesterday, not being used (GRRRR), trying unsuccessfully stream TV coverage on my laptop (GRRRR) before watching a crappy feed on the phone. I don't think I started crying until I started thanking God.

[My castmates] and I raced back to my apartment to watch Obama's speech and have some celebratory drinks, and then we went out and drank too much. But I still feel great. I'm excited for you to come back so that I can see you face to face and you can pinch me and tell me that this isn't all a dream.


Melissa said...

It's a dream, alright... one that a certain other man who looks like you who also stood up for truth and change spoke about in '63. Now the dream has come true.

I can't wait until she pinches you and you know it's real.

Dr. The Bird Man said...

"I think that the only way that Obama fulfills his promise is if WE all band together and help him, you know?"

This is an excellent point! The slogan is: "Yes We Can." not "Yes I can" or "Yes Obama Can." The success of Obama's presidency will be in our efforts as a united people to get this country turned around and headed in the right direction. Obama's great promise as a president is that he has the capacity to inspire we the people to work towards national self improvement.

I am on board.