Ben and I stood in line for two and a half hours to vote. The sun shone brightly, but the wind was sharp, and my toes went numb inside my sneakers. We made friends with a woman in line, who opened up after I let it be known that we were voting for Barack Obama. She said, “I don’t think he’s going to win. I don’t think America is ready for a black president.”
How sad if her fear comes true. I realize she was expressing her doubts because she was trying to ward off huge disappointment. Many of us feel the same way. We need Barack to win the election, to take us into the twenty-first century, and to help heal the wounds slavery caused.
When I got home from voting I was chilled to the bone, and worn out. I crawled under the covers, still wearing my corduroy jeans and a sweatshirt, and slept for an hour.
A man in the tire store waiting room told me he was from Miami after he heard me mention the word immigration to the store manager. “It was a great place to grow up,” he said, “ lived and worked there for over fifty years, but now it’s a third world country.”
He sounded bitter. I can see how crime and poverty might make living conditions where he once lived problematic. But third world country? The bitterness? It sounded like he was blaming the immigrants for the problems, an opinion with racist overtones.
I didn’t tell him how much I loved Calle Ocho when I was in Miami many years ago, or how I enjoyed speaking and hearing Spanish, sipping espresso with a sliver of lemon rind at outdoor cafes, seeing men dressed in guayaberas, the women sauntering in brightly colored skirts, high heels, perfect make up and glossy hair.
My son Freeboarder said, “Sarah Palin is not a leader, she’s an enforcer, and a pretty thick-headed one at that.” He’s fifteen! Out of the mouths of babes, as they say.
To all the Obama supporters: don’t boo, just vote.