Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thoughts on the Election & Race

Should I say something about the election? It’s awfully big not even to mention!

My candidate for President didn’t win, but I’m feeling surprisingly cheerful about things anyway. I’ve had a feeling about Barack Obama ever since he won the Democratic primary, that he’d be our next president, so I guess I’ve been somewhat prepared for the inevitable. I truly hope he’ll end up being a good, consensus-building president.

Despite my disagreement with many of his positions, I am thrilled that our country has elected its first black president. How amazing that black parents can now say to their kids: “In the United States, you can be anything you want to be. You can even be President!” I am hopeful that his public visibility will go a long way toward creating a more colorblind culture in this country.

When I say colorblind, though, I do not mean to say that we’re all the same. I love the differences between cultures, whether it’s black or white, Southern, Eastern or Midwestern, Pakistani or Hispanic, blue-collar or white-collar—every sub-culture has its own interesting tendencies. (I have a post in the works about the differences between our former suburban area and our new Wisconsin home!)

I don’t know when I’ll ever have another chance to tell this story, so I’ll share it now. When I was baptized, back in 1972, it was at the only joint baptismal service that the First Baptist Church and the Second Baptist Church ever had together. (I don’t know why we had a joint service—I think maybe their baptistry was closed for repairs?) Anyway, I felt such a sense of great good fortune to be baptized at that service, because when I came up out of the water, instead of being greeted with silence by the somber white congregation, or maybe one loud “Amen” by the only amen-sayer, I heard a chorus of beautiful black voices calling out, “Hallelujah! Amen! Thank you, Jesus! Praise the Lord!” It seemed like the voices of the angels in heaven, rejoicing at my baptism. It is still a treasured memory.

Now, even though I know how much that blessed me, I didn’t, after that, raise my voice to praise God after a baptism. That wasn’t part of my culture. But I loved that it was part of theirs, and that they had not changed their worship style while they visited us. Different cultures are to be honored, cultivated and celebrated, whether we refer to a family culture, a corporate culture, or an ethnic one. But no culture or race has more or less value, is more or less worthy of respect than any other. That’s what I want my own children to know—not just with their intellect, but with their hearts.

I don’t think this election will solve our country’s racial divides. But I have hope that it will, at least, help heal the breach.


Margaret Cloud said...

This is a very nice post, my candidate did not win either, I am not talking about McCain I mean Hillary, I so wanted to see a women in as president, she did run a good race.

Kathyb1960 said...

Mine didn't win either.

Oh, and I finally did update my blog! LOL

Thanks for stopping by!

Melinda said...

This was such a beautiful post! I feel the same way, I am hopeful that our new President can bring about some true unity. I agree too about the difference in cultures. I think those differences need to be celebrated. I had a dear friend in high school, a lovely Christian black girl who would spontaneously verbally praise God and it always touched me in such a positive way.

Rosa said...

Amen to this!

I love to embrace and celebrate cultural differences. This is definitely a milestone in history, considering that racial slavery has only been abolished for 143 years.

I agree with you on Obama. I do not support many of his views, but now that he is elected, it's wise to make the best of things as they are and look at the good that he can (and is willing to) do.