Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's a perfect moment. A soft light, a scent in the air, the quiet murmur of the city. A surge of love, an urge to help mankind overcomes her.

I haven't slept much this week.

Part of it's been work. We are absolutely nuts at work. It's been early mornings and late nights almost every day.

Another part of it is my son. He got hit in the knee in the last few minutes of the last football practice of the season. I've been worrying that it was a torn ACL and the inevitable surgery in that case. (Thankfully an MRI showed it was his ACL but it was strained, not torn.)

But what's really been keeping me up at night has been the weight of last night's election. I suspect that, like many of you, it's been a little overwhelming when you step back and consider what just happened in the context of this nation's history. The results may have been fate accompli for over a month now, but that doesn't make it any less stunning. Judging by all the tears I saw last night, including on the face of one Tom Brokaw, I think that's a fair assesment.


I had a number of family and friends call me after Obama was declared the winner to share this moment. My best buddy since grade school was one of those people. We're both Ducks who earned undergraduate degrees in history from that great university.

It's difficult to put how we were feeling into words but we both came to the conclusion that Obama's win felt a lot like the fall of the Berlin Wall. The sense that what we were watching unfold live was a historical event of such magnitude that whole chapters of history books will be dedicated to it in the future and the realization that history marches slowly, inescapably forward.

Just consider for a second that the Berlin Wall represented from it's formation in 1961 both literally and metaphorically; the immeasurable power of the totalitarian GDR and Soviet states. These states had absolute control over the lives of their citizens. They controlled what you saw on the news, what you did for a living, what you wore, where and who you could worship and even what you could wear. History ground those "invincible" states and their wall into dust.

History's progress is unstoppable.

I went on a little rant to that effect a couple of days ago at Fran's place. We tend to get caught up in fighting those who, through their actions, try and lean up against the monolithic march of history to try and stop its progress. We (because I most certainly include myself) seem to tend to get caught up in the indignity of those that insist that man doesn't contribute to global warming, or that a woman should never be President or that lesbian and gay Americans shouldn't enjoy the same rights as everybody else.

These are worthy fights but I do think it doesn't hurt us to step back and consider the bigger picture once in a while. Those people that voted on Proposition 8 in California yesterday are not going to win this battle, regardless of the results of that vote. They are fighting history, and just as assuredly as history eviscerated that ugly cement wall in Berlin and the governments it represented or elected an African-American man to the highest office in the land when a little over a hundred years ago he wouldn't even be considered a citizen of this country, history will roll over them as well. It's simply inevitable.

The writing is on the wall.


11 comments:

Dr. Zaius said...

Yippie! Hooray! The world is saved! (I'm glad that your son is OK.)

Aaron said...

In spite of all the hiccups and backwards steps, the trend of history really is towards justice.

I'm glad we lived to see this moment. I'm really proud to be an American today.

Dean Wormer said...

zaius-

Thanks! We were worried about that one. Knee surgery at his age isn't good.

aaron-

I'm right there with you. I'm so happy I lived to see this.

Don Snabulus said...

I was much more emotional than I expected to be last night watching Obama's speech. As a lifetime member of the National Cynics Association, I thought I would be merely relieved or happy. Instead I got that feeling you get when you are witnessing history. I haven't felt the positive end of that feeling in a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time.

So I just had to call you and give you some crap.

Dean Wormer said...

don-

I'm so happy you called last night. I was kind of in a state of shock. I was openly crying through a bunch of the images last night. When they called the damned thing at 8:00 NBC was smart enough to just show people celebrating in Times Square and Illinois and outside the White House.

Seeing Jessie Jackson really choked me up. I did my first volunteering on his run for the White House oh so many years ago.

So if I didn't have much to say on the phone other than "holy fuck," that was why.

Dean

Randal Graves said...

Glad to hear the future dean will still be playing in the NFL.

I'm neither happy nor sad, but the feeling is more like 'ha ha, a brother is in charge, suck it, you cracker wankers.' Immature, I'll admit, but someone's gotta be. ;-)

Übermilf said...

America's back. The kind where we don't have an aristocracy. That makes me happy in my happy places.

pissed off patricia said...

I feel like America has been set free and ironically by a black man. Damn, I don't know when I have been this happy.

Dean Wormer said...

randal-

Actually pissing off racists is a very noble calling.

ubermilf-

America's back. The kind where we don't have an aristocracy.

I love the way you phrased that.

pop-

It is a great time to be an American.

Swinebread said...

It's a new day!

The real morning in America!

Dean Wormer said...

Swine,

I couldn't agree more. BTW: I have a proposition for you regarding your blog...