Last night I took a shot of Tequila. While that may seem innocuous to most of you, for me it was something out of the ordinary. I don’t drink. Ever. Not because of some higher religious principle or because I had a drinking problem. I just don’t like to drink. Don’t like the taste, don’t like the effects. But last night, how could I refuse?
Last night, the American public decided to look forward with optimistic eyes and elect a candidate who inspires hope and goodness. In one loud voice we raised up and said we will no longer live in fear. It seems as if America has been stumbling around in a trance since 9/11 and last night’s jubilation of change (at least in NYC where people were cheering and cars were honking into the early hours of the morning) was the emotional equivalent of someone snapping their fingers, waking us up.
Last night, the American public decided to look into its past and realized that we can’t be superficial anymore. No longer should things we can’t control in life (color of our skin, sexual preference, etc) be barriers to success. This could be the turning point of the anti-intellectualism movement that has swept this nation over the past 30 years; we elected someone based on the content of his character, as well as his intellectual prowess.
The American public has, at times, bonded as one. But I can’t recall the last time we came together in times of joy. Typically, we link arm in arm, hand in hand when we are in the middle of a storm: 9/11, Katrina, NYC Power Outage (Yes, I know, I’m laying it thick with the NY-centrism, but hey, what can I say?). Last night, I closed my eyes and thought of my grandfather. He fled a continent and what he knew as life after witnessing the most evil of humanity so that his children and grandchildren could grow up in the “land of opportunity.” For the past 10 years or so, as I grew up and he grew older, he constantly told me life comes down to three things: hope, hope and hope. When a 91 year-old Holocaust survivor still believes in hope, what else can you do but believe, too? Last night, hope prevailed.
Last night, America grew up. Yes, we all understand the historic importance of the first black man to ascend to the presidency of these United States, when 45 years ago blacks couldn’t eat at the same restaurants as whites; blacks couldn’t go to the same hospitals as whites; blacks couldn’t attend the same schools as whites. But now, now we have not just a black man as commander-in-chief, but a smart man, a just man, a good man (at least we hope). America has learned that these values are more important to the success of this country and our voices have been heard.
So last night I took a shot of Tequila to celebrate change, to herald in an era of which hope dominates negativity and to reflect on how our nation keeps evolving . For the past 21 months we chanted yes we can. Last night, yes we did.