Monday, November 10, 2008

Half Black is the New Black

I admit, I'm excited about the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States of America. I've voted in the last four presidential elections, but I felt much more invested in this election than I have in years past. Perhaps I merely jumped on the bandwagon that everyone else was riding, the bandwagon that said this election was going to be pivotal in oh so many ways. Perhaps I was simply more informed this time around. Perhaps I have matured over the last four years and actually care more about these things. Perhaps some of all of this is true. Regardless, for the first time, I have found myself wondering if it's possible—and I almost think it might be—that the person we're putting into the oval office will have a positive impact on my life. Perhaps it's na├»ve, but it's also kind of exhilarating.

Another reason it was so rewarding to be a part of the political process this time around is that I live in Florida, a swing state that is not guaranteed to go either Republican or Democrat. I was able to believe my vote actually mattered. That was a neat feeling, and it made me all the more eager to vote. I wasn't able to head to the polls until half an hour before they closed, so I was relying on this enthusiasm sustaining me as I waited in a horrendously long line. But, amazingly, the polls were practically empty. I literally walked right in, right up to get my ballot, and right up to an empty “booth” to cast my vote. Things could not have gone better. (And to top it all off, Melanie and I caught wind of an offer from Chick-Fil-A that those wearing the “I Voted!” sticker that gets handed out at the polls were entitled to a free chicken sandwich. Incentives aplenty! God bless America! If genuine political interest cannot inspire one to vote, surely some deep fried meat will!)

Yes, last Tuesday was an exciting day. I wasn't quite as ecstatic as my neighbor, who ran out of her apartment shortly after 11 p.m. and spent a good ten to fifteen minutes hooting and hollering because Obama (or, perhaps more accurately, half of Obama) was projected to become the nation's first black president. For me, none of the excitement is about race, even if there is something to celebrate in America's embracing of a black presidential candidate. The fact is, I was overwhelmingly more impressed by Obama than by McCain while watching the presidential debates, and while I sided with McCain on at least a few issues, I'd say that Obama was my better match on a good 65-75% of the issues that I was semi-informed about. I never thought about it being an awesome thing to vote for the first non-white U.S. president. I don't know if that speaks well or poorly of me, but it's the truth.

So there you have it—me being as politically zealous as I get. I haven't said anything enlightening, but I'm pleased that this was an election that I could care enough about to want to post something about it. For a guy that generally eschews politics, to say anything at all is to say a lot.


  1. Benny!!! So good to hear your voice. I didn't even think of you voting in a place "where it mattered." That is kind of cool. I vote because I believe in it, not because I think it will make a difference.
    And I agree with feeling like Obama might make changes that will actually affect us. I hope it all goes for the best!

  2. Absolutely.... I agree with you on everything.
    It's interesting to me that race or gender just really wasn't all that important to most people. And that is because it was such a natural transition. Keep in mind, I am very old and can remember when these were just ideas for someday. Things really have come a long way...thank goodness.