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Nov 05, 2008: How I'm feeling this morning

WARNING: narcissism aheadI still can't quite believe that the US has elected an African-American president. I was thinking about this while making breakfast this morning for Iris, who's not quite five. When I was her age, the US was only a few years removed from the thick of the civil rights movement. The kinks were still being worked out of African-American voter enfranchisement. King had been dead for about a year. Nixon was perfecting his Southern Strategy. And busing was about to become a hugely divisive issue, with five year olds as pawns.

I broke down.

Iris isn't used to seeing her dad this way. I explained to her as best I could that some really bad things, like slavery, had happened in this country. She had a hard time understanding why African-American kids weren't allowed to go to school, or why they had to work instead of play. I couldn't bear to tell her that children her age were often permanently separated from their parents.

I also told her I was happy, because some really good things had happened since those times, like this election. I told her that when I was her age, it was pretty unlikely that I'd have had a teacher and a doctor, much less a president, who were African-American, as she now does.

I think she got it, or at least the gist. She's certainly caught on to her parents' recent excitement; yesterday, she told us that they'd had an election at kindergarten and that she'd been elected President of Kids.

Iris, I can't think of who would make a better president of kids. And Barack, I'm feeling the same way about you. For at least the next four years I'll try to put aside my expectation, unfortunately so common among Democrats, that our leaders must be perfect. Or even exceptional, though that's where I think history will ultimately judge you.

Damn it. I'll just be glad for a president who's pretty good.

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Comment: steve (Nov 5, 2008)

we're all happy here in the UK as well!

Comment: Livia Labate (Nov 5, 2008)

That was very sweet, got tears in my eyes. Iris is a lucky girl in so many ways.

Comment: Reinier Meenhorst (Nov 5, 2008)

This morning my 8 year old son ran into the bedroom, shouting "Obama has won". Of course, over here in Europe - Holland to be exact - it is different, but a big deal nonetheless.

Next, I had a similar experience to yours. I was touched and overwhelmed by Obama's speech. I tried to explain to my son, the impact of the fact that an African-American has been elected as the president of the US. I told him about slavery, racism, Marten Luther King and so on. My son concluded 'the US has become a much better country with Obama then' - I could only smile, with hope for the futur.

Comment: Richard Dalton (Nov 8, 2008)


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