Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Color me uncolored... and speechless...

I'm still in shock; I had no idea that this would happen so soon. It seems that America continues to be a land of surprises--for worse or, apparently, for better...

The world was watching, the nation was hoping, and I was sitting in my socks and boxers with my eyes glued to the television. It happened, and I couldn't help but check the calendar. I was almost positive it wasn't April. Did we enter some sort of backwards alternate-reality vortex? I looked that man in the face and couldn't help but view him as a walking, talking, living, breathing, anachronism, a man somehow misplaced in the grand scheme of things--a man who, despite perpetuated practices, managed to inspire a radical reconsideration of long-held ideals and beliefs. All I could do was stare. It wasn't April, I wasn't dreaming, and we seemed to be comfortably nestled in our normal, non-alternative, universe.

My father voted for the first time, and I can't help but think he represents his generation's final push to make something happen. It worked. I can't relay to you the pride and, deep, fundamental, joy I felt at my father's excitement to cast his vote. All of this is sobering, to say the least. This election has made Neil Armstrongs of us all; we are finally aware of our individual place in the ever-running continuum of time. I'm glad I've lived to witness what could possibly be one of the most significant regime changes in the small history of our adolescent nation and the larger, more considerable, history of our (human) race.

For all of those who have died; for the bodies at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean; for the bones buried deeply in the heart of our southern kin; for the sacrifice, heartache and hardship; for my mother and father, my grandmother and grandfather; for the homeless persons on the street, the lonely souls longingly lingering behind bars, and the dapper debutantes flaunting the fruits of their professional prowess; I look ahead and smile.

It seems that we, in our own small-stepping way, have made another giant leap toward a promising future.
Still, I'm certain that we've yet to travel as far and as long as we must for things to be truly as they should. I'm looking forward to the journey.


Christianne said...

Clayton, I can't tell you how much it moved me to read this. It is probably the most stirring piece I've read about the subject, even though I've read many articles by journalists interviewing those profoundly moved by the outcome and seen much video footage of those whose greatest hopes against the backdrop of a difficult history have been realized. Yours has bested them all because it is in your own words, from your own experience, and in your own poetic way.

Thank you for sharing the story of your father. Thank you for sharing how you see us all as Armstrongs. Thank you for sharing your great disbelief, having to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't fooling. The next-to-last paragraph gave me goosebumps and made me teary. I can only imagine how it has made you and your generations feel to experience it firsthand.

Take care,

kirsten said...

clayton, thank you so much for sharing your heart. i am one of millions who breathed a sigh of relief as i saw the results pour in tuesday night and yet, couldn't quite believe that this was really happening. is this really real? did our nation just overwhelmingly elect this man to the presidency?!

i look forward to what this new era holds. i believe in the change he purports to offer, and i will pray for him and his family. oh, how i will pray for him. there is a long road ahead.


Clay said...

Thank you both. I was worried that my thoughts would make no sense. Believe it or not, I hold both of you in high esteem and appreciate every word you share...despite the fact that I don't tell you nearly as often as I feel I should :) I'm so glad for a change, and I'm also excited that I have people who are embracing the possibility for new beginnings with me. Really, I'm honored by your comments.

Much love,

Joelle said...

This is beautiful! I'm grateful for the smidgen of goodness that lies in human hearts in spite. Grateful for the possibility of hope.