Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama's Day Was Really Our Elders'

Hours Before Obama Takes Over-Are You Profoundly Excited?

by Davey D

I been in Washington DC for the past few days amidst all the excitement and fanfare leading up to today. January 20 2009-Inauguration Day for Barack Obama, the 44th President of these United States.

There's no denying the festive mood that has engulfed this city. It don't matter if you are downtown near the Capitol or on historic U street, in Columbia Heights or over in Georgetown or in South East. People are excited. People are besides themselves. However there are two types of excitement. One is reactionary and I don't mean this in a bad way.

What I mean is there's an excitement that comes with the bringing about of change. After 8 years of George Bush there is cause for much excitement and it shows. The parties are abundant, the bubbly is flowing and the giddiness behind the possibility of us finally getting this huge albatross off our necks is infectious.

This reactionary excitement is one that manifest itself in the many galas and balls that have come to make up this Inauguration weekend. And please don't get me wrong, a good party is what many need. If you can for even a few moments have a reason to crack a smile, give somebody a nice hug or give someone a high five or a pound, now is really the time to do it.. The possibility of good times lay ahead. There's excitement in seeing Young Jeezy and P-Diddy at a gig that caused people to pay 200 dollars for tickets. Its the excitement I seen on the faces of young kids at a youth center had when Bow Wow strolled through. Its the excitement people had when they saw Samuel Jackson walking down the street.

When your younger such excitement seems like it will last forever. This reactionary excitement is a high like no other and causes some who are inexperienced to behave recklessly. We may in our excitement spend all our money on foolishness. We may in our excitement behave in manner that we one day look back upon in embarrassment. Some of us in this moment of excitement can't contain ourselves and rush around frantically trying to take it all in. We live for today with little regard for the future and definitely no reverence for the past.

And I gotta be honest after 8 years of Bush-why not? Like I said sometimes live in the moment type of excitement is needed.

But as you walk the streets of Washington and allow yourself to be still and pay close attention for minute or two, you tap into another type of excitement. I have no real words to accurately describe it. But its deeply profound. I see it amongst the elders -so many of them who braved the cold, overlooked their own health concerns and any other obstacle.There are elders here who were coming here hell or high water.

This is a profound type of excitement-one that can literally move you to tears. It shows up in the twinkle you can see in ones eyes. Some of the people I come across have hardened faces, but this weekend something is glowing within. Its a profound type of excitement that is bigger than any one person. Its seems deep rooted.

I been talking to a lot of our elders and when I ask them about Barack Obama and what this day means to them, tears well up in their eyes. One woman from Philadelphia well into her 80s said to me I feel liberated. She longed to see this day.

Another woman also in her 80s who grew up in Texas told me that she had a deep, deep anger that has finally subsided.

Others will shake their heads, tear up and say its been a long time coming and they are so glad to see this day.

This is not just about Barack Obama, but its about a long journey that many of them have endured and Obama and his family about to take residence in the white house is the manifestation of a whole lot of prayers, a whole lot of hope against all odds and the ultimate triumph.

When I talk to some of these elders especially those from the south I hear all sorts of stories about the Jim Crow days when they couldn't drink at the same water fountains, eat at the same lunch counters or try on clothes at a department stores. Some try to downplay it and explain it away, but I can tell that the stories they recount have a deeper more personal pain behind it..

I seen that look in my mom many times when I was younger when she would put on a good face and tell me and my sister things weren't cool, but she wouldn't go into detail and burden us with exactly how bad things really were. Moms would shoulder that burden. She would shoulder it to shield me and my sister. She would burden it so we would have a better day and brighter tomorrow.

It would be years later that bits and pieces would surface. It might be random story of her being called Nigger on the first day of work. Or being humiliated by jealous vindictive white co-workers when she was the first Black on her job. It could be something even more painful like the real reasons pops left. My point being as I've gotten older I've come to know that look and come to appreciate the sacrifice and burden that was shouldered.

This weekend I've seen it over and over again. The look of elders-those who have taken on so much for us. Those who won't relive the real horror stories both for our sake as youngstas and for theirs, since many are trying to forever forget what they may have endured once upon a time when this country was front and center about seeing and treating Black folks as second class people.

It's with this understanding that I note this profound excitement residing with many of the elders. They are moved to tears and in their mind God did not let them down. Their faith has endured and with the hopes and aspirations they have for Obama and the first family I can tell as they speak they have it for us. They want the best for those who come behind them.

Its been hard to talk with the elders this week without tearing up, because as they talk it its not the words they see its the spirit I feel. Its that unspoken thing that says 'son you don't know what I went through to see this day'. 'Please don't disappointment me'. 'Please don't let me down'. I done a lot for you over the years and now my time is near and it's on you to carry on..' Like I said . many have held on dearly just to see this day.

I asked one elder how what she thought all the white folks she encountered were thinking, who discriminated against her and her sister when she was growing up. She looked and smiled from ear to ear and said I don't care. and it doesn't matter. She said they probably still think the same but it doesn't matter because they can't stop this.

This day is not for Obama as much as it is for them-The elders.

Three days before this inauguration I lost my Uncle who passed suddenly. I know he would've loved to have seen Obama take office knowing that he grew up in nearby Virginia and was one of those countless elders who could tell you some tales of what it was like once upon a time and how they endured. I know some of those stories have been told, but I also know there are so many that have been kept to himself so we who came after could be free of the burden.

Its with this understanding that with the swearing in of Barack Obama, I swear myself in. It means that not only can I not disappoint, but I gotta make sure this man taking over the reigns doesn't disappoint. The person sitting next to me has got to make sure I don't fall short and disappoint. If we can all uplift and commit ourselves to being better people and doing better by each other the election of Barack Obama will not have been in vein.
I also understand that while I may have reservations and concerns and theories etc, that I should shoulder that burden-This time from my elders and work hard to make their dreams be fully manifested. In other words Obama can't fail. He better not fail. After seeing all these older folks looking at the Capitol or peering through thee white house fence and profusely crying, I can not, we can not allow this man or ourselves to fall short.

This day is for the elders who shouldered much and did their best to protect us. Its dedicated to those who had the sense enough to pray when we wouldn't pray for ourselves. Its dedicated to those who sacrificed and even gave their lives so we could have the opportunity. I understand the profound excitement. With Obama taking over the reigns so are many of us. May our journey be a good one. A new day has begun.


See Also...

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special: Yes He Did...So Now What??? Defining The Obama Presidency...

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special:O Yes We Did!!! The Barack Obama Tribute...

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special: Barack Obama & The Hip Hop Effect On American Politics:


Get The Barack Obama Holiday Inaugural Gift Package By R2C2H2 Tha Artivist!!!

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