What the election means

Editor’s note: We’re less than 24 hours away from the 2008 Presidential Election–one that could be historic. I wrote on What Tami Said yesterday about the significance of an Obama presidency to the descendants of slaves. Over at Elle, PhD, Elle offers a parent’s perspective.

When I was (almost) ten, I was not particularly interested in the presidential election. I remember thinking it was cool about Geraldine Ferraro; I plotted non-bloody situations in which she could become president. I also remember very distinctly my parents’ sense of, “That’s nice, but oh well.” My mom used to talk to her friends about how everyone knew Reagan was going to win again, a pronouncement that was usually met with sympathetic murmurs and a quick change of the subject.

I was a know-it-all, thought-I-was-the-smartest-thing-evah kid, and I had little interest in the larger world. My son, the skateboarding, pop-rock-hip-hop, dancing obsessed ten-year-old has put me to shame.

He loves Barack Obama, has sat through debates, has critiqued John McCain. He’s observant of other people’s comments and bumper stickers. He walks around the house lamenting the fact that he can’t vote. I’ve had to reassure him a million times that I’m going to take him with me when I do.

The other day, he begged me to break the no-TV-no-recreational-internet-Monday-through-Thursday rule. He wanted to go to Nick.com. “Kids can vote there!” he told me. I told him he helped Senator Obama edge by Senator McCain. You should’ve seen his smile.

My son identifies with Barack Obama for obvious reasons and this campaign means something to him that even I can’t fully understand.

Read more…

P.S. All you guys fretting over the election in the Open Thread, quit wringing your hands and get thee to an Obama volunteer headquarters ASAP. I just decided this morning that I’m going to request tomorrow off to help people get to the polls. That hopeful young man looking at Sen. Barack Obama in the photo above is worth fighting for.

Image from Yes We Can (Hold Babies)


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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek, Change.org, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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