While You Were Sleeping…

On Tuesday when the election results were in, Obama won. The earth didn’t move. No voices rang from the heavens singing “Glory Hallelujah” or “Holy Shit, Ya’ll Done Messed Up” The lame didn’t walk. The blind didn’t see. The seas didn’t part. The moon didn’t fall from the sky. There were no rioters or looters taking to the streets. Jesus didn’t show-up riding a storm cloud, wearing MC Hammer pants and singing, “Rapture-Time.”

Nothing happened.

The night America made history, time progressed as normal with the hours becoming almost forgettable except for the programming on television and my (still ongoing) argument with Mr. Smartypants over whether or not Sarah Palin has ever appeared in a Bud Light commercial.

There was not one single moment wherein I thought to myself – I will remember this forever.

Yes, I know this election was a milestone. We deserve a moment to celebrate it. Therefore, I have no problems confessing that I got misty-eyed when Obama arrived to claim his victory and marched his beautiful brown-eyed daughters across the stage: those daughters, who look very much like my own. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t awestruck by the fact that, for the first time in our nation’s history, the family in the White House is representative of my family in terms of background and color.

However, the milestone doesn’t change anything. The world isn’t suddenly new and improved. Below the fold of Tuesday’s history, the other news remained: Automaker failure could hit 2.5 mln jobs, Dell asks workers to take unpaid vacation, Nortel could cut up to 5,000 jobs next week, Fannie Mae’s $6,000 golf outing, It will be hard to create jobs, New Prez to Inherit Economy From Hell, Russian Prez Slams U.S. in Annual Address, Afghans Say U.S. Strike Kills 23 Children.

At some point, the party will end and we’ll have accept that being the first black president will not necessarily make Obama a great President – or even a good one. I certainly am not confident that he has all of the answers or that the answers he does have are the right ones. All of this remains to be seen.   Consequently, as I shut the lights off and went to bed on Tuesday night, I was just as apprehensive about the future of this country and wellbeing of my family as I had been the day before.

Then, the strangest damn thing happened.

In the wee-hours of Wednesday morning, around 1AM or so, a car zipped down the highway behind my house: they were shooting off fireworks, screaming something inaudible and I might not have noticed had the ruckus not roused Oscar de la Perrito, the cranky Bassett Hound, leaving him out of sorts in a “going ape-shit” kind of way.  I assumed the noise was celebratory and stumbled off to calm down the dog.

But the next bangs were closer – and the words were quite clear: “OBAMA SUCKS. F*CK YOU NIGGERS AND YOUR NIGGER PRESIDENT!”

It wasn’t the firecrackers tossed in my driveway that caused me to cringe, but the words. It probably caused some of you to cringe seeing it typed out here… because no matter how many times you have seen or heard it and regardless of who pushes it forth – this word will never completely lose it’s power to shock and offend.   Of course, these were just mouthy high school kids – little boys and not very bright ones at that since they had picked the minority family on a dead-end street, meaning they’d have to turn around the circle at the end of the subdivision and bring their narrow-butts right back by my house.

I was angry nonetheless.  I was so angry that I grabbed my car keys and headed out the door, intending to set up my own a road block, take names, call Mamas and the police. If necessary, I’d involve the National Damn Gaurd, the ACLU and the DOJ. Also, suspecting that I knew one of the car’s occupants, I absolutely meant to cut a switch from a tree and whip his half-grown ass myself… because I’m sure his Daddy wouldn’t mind.

In the end, however, I didn’t do any of those things.

If I’d called the police to report white kids hurling firecrackers and insults my way – their flashing blue lights would have piqued the curiosity of the neighborhood and my children. People would have peered through curtains, stepped out onto their porches and shared my outrage. My children would’ve been terrified and in the end – what would this accomplish?  Ultimately, acknowledging the incident would have drawn more attention to the behavior and therefore legitimized it.   Why bother?  These kids (or people like them) pose no threat to my family.  This is my town, my neighborhood, my street, my driveway, my country and the country of my children. There are more people like us here than them – and by us, I don’t mean brown-skinned people, minority people, Obama people, those with nappy heads or idealistic left-leaning notions – but all of us.

See, America, while we disagree upon the route or direction this country should take, the bottom line is: where we are right now, which isn’t such a bad place, we’ve all gotten here together – this place where no one can easily silence, enslave or subject my children to injustice or inequality. No one can hinder them in their pursuit of happiness or success. And no one can tell them they can’t be President.  Therefore, I’ve got to believe that whatever journey is before us – whether be to the Promised Land or whether Obama inadvertently leads us up the wrong mountain – we will proceed or alter course in the same way – together.  And we will be okay. Perhaps better than okay.

So, I didn’t block the boys. I didn’t call the police. I didn’t call their Mamas. As the car rolled back down the roadway, I understood completely how powerless they were and did nothing… well, okay, fine, I might’ve yelled: “Free at Last. Free at Last. Praise God Almighty and Kiss my Ass!” I also wanted to moon them but figured they were driving too fast to appreciate the gesture.

No, I don’t imagine Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn’t be proud.  Yes, it was immature and I did tacky up a beautiful moment – but hey, I’m imperfect and it was my moment.  So there you have it, America. While you were sleeping, I had my moment: the one I will remember for the rest of my life.


6 thoughts on “While You Were Sleeping…

  1. i am so sorry for the ignorance of some and the apathy of many. Having a black President of the United States cannot end these horrible episodes because they come out of mean hearts and no power of government can end that meanness.

    You have a beautiful and sweet family, and i am sickened to hear what happened Tuesday night. But thanks for your transparency in writing about it.

  2. Good, thoughtful post. I hate it that there are people out there who still feel the need, for whatever reason, to do such things. I didn’t vote for Obama but I’m glad a black man was elected during my lifetime. It helps to see actual progress.

    I assume you live in Rogersville. Although I lived in Knoxville for 38 years and knew people who lived in Rogersville, I never made it there. I now live in a rural area near Maysville, KY. Small town America is much better than most big city people imagine. However, it did take me 10 years to get used to it. Literally.

    God bless you and your family.

  3. I don’t know that these kids were mean-spirited. I think they were just mimicking what they’ve heard and reacting to it. Truth is this was probably more mischief than hate – and young men can do stupid things whenever they feed off one another’s bravado.

    That being said: this election cycle has been tough on everyone. There was a lot of scab-picking going on for political gain. Both parties intentionally played on old fears about black people and stereotypes about women. They revived old anger, guilt, loyalties… and this took a toll.

    I believe long before Obama’s victory – the mere possibility of having a black President set America back in terms of racial accord. Of course, this means we needed to go back and deal with whatever lingering issues we had – so we can move forward. And I’m confident that, in time, America will adjust and accept a black man as president.

    Perhaps then, folks will feel less guilty about admitting Obama was a horrible first choice.

    See, I didn’t vote for Obama either because I’m a big grown-up Republican lady and while I believe his skin is beautiful, I think his policies are flawed.

    I appreciate what happened here – and I am proud of my country for it. I mean – to see Ms. Diva delight in Obama’s victory while knowing that ten years ago it would have been impossible: it makes it hard for me to feel completely defeated and hopeless.

    Still, pride doesn’t make me blind or stupid… so I’ll continue to be vigilant and prayerful over the next four years: keeping my fingers crossed that he doesn’t crash us, crush us, or get us blown up by Russia his first six months in office.

  4. There are no words of mine which can express my personal horror that anyone, regardless of their age, would engage in that kind of behavior, or that anyone would treat you and your family (or any family) the way that those young punks thought it was alright to treat y’all. I especially feel for Ms. Diva, I hope she witnessed none of the commotion whatsoever.

    As for what you said-I love it and wish I could have seen it!

    I’d rather vote for my beagle, Dixon than Barack Obama. You read my work and know this. To say that I mistrust the man would be a MAJOR understatement-but he is the President-elect of the United States, and it doesn’t matter what color he is, the office knows no black, white, brown, or yellow-not anymore. He deserves the respect of his office, even if he proves not to deserve the personal respect of the American people.

    Lastly, I don’t know that you were the least bit immature. Your response was an entirely different level of classiness.

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