Today our world changed. Today, with the election of America’s first black president, everyone’s future was made brighter, not just in the United States, but around the world. As I sat with Keana and Maia watching the inauguration this morning, I was in tears. Seeing Obama’s face on the TV, being sworn in, was one more reminder that there truly is possibility in this country. The gates haven’t been blown wide open, not by any means, but the hope that was made real today is immeasurable. And I think I was moved to tears not just because of what that might mean for those that have previously been marginalized in this country, or for what it might mean for me in this new America, but what it will mean for our daughters and their children.
I was joyful that Keana and Maia have a real, tangible example of freedom and opportunity in America. Their example will not only be some document you learn about in history books, or the ideals of America that people say are true, but an actual American president, elected in their lifetime, that represents these ideals. Their example is a man of mixed heritage, just like themselves. A man who doesn’t look like the status quo of power and wealth in America, and one whose background and upbringing are far different from most of those who came before him. Obama not only represents how far we’ve come towards equity in this country, but also represents what might be. If a black man can be elected as president, then why shouldn’t we also imagine that a woman, latino, arab, or asian American might also one day be elected? Why then shouldn’t those who are gay or those who practice another religion also be considered to represent their fellow Americans? We do not live in a world of all one type of person, so why should we be ruled by one type of person? We’re raised to believe that all are equal in America, but it became very clear to me at a very early age that this was not the case. I was constantly reminded that many did not consider me equal because of how I looked and where I came from. And I was afraid, but that was no way to come up in a so-called “land of opportunity and equality”. I feel like today, finally, we can honestly say to our children that what they look like and where they come from does not determine how far they can go in America. Of course there will still be moments when they are affected by racism or some other ill judgement, but at least now, because a black man rose through all the ranks to the White House, they have a very important, real example of what it means to choose hope instead of fear and what that means for their possibilities.