Ghosts prowl the earth this week. Those who once fought against injustice have been invoked, wished for, remembered. As for me, I’m thinking of my mother. She fought for civil rights in every way she could, paraded, sat in, boycotted, spoke out. She gave scholarships to African-American children so that her nursery school was always integrated. She died a year before African-Americans were left behind on soggy roofs in New Orleans while whites were saved and five years before this country elected a president who is African-American.
A man who amazed us with his serenity under pressure, with his positive attitude, his brilliance, judgment, eloquence, and humaneness, rose up and wowed the world. I at first thought he should wait four years, then saw he didn’t have to. He knew how to run a campaign, so much so that the people showed up in droves. The GOP couldn’t rig enough machines, couldn’t sufficiently disenfranchise the elderly, the young, the poor, people of color, couldn’t cleanse enough voter rolls, throw away enough ballots, play enough dirty tricks, couldn’t steal this election the way they did in 2000 and 2004.
And on Wednesday, despite corporate media, this was a new country, at least for now, and I could walk the streets of Shorewood to thumbs up, hugs, smiles, to calls of “Aren’t you happy?”
Yes, I am. We’ll never know what the real total would have been without chicanery and glitches.
I always had confidence in the optical scanners we use here. Similar machines caused problems in many states on Tuesday. Some crashed, jammed, or scanned incorrectly. Some voters didn’t realize they had to connect the front and back of the arrow on the paper ballots and instead drew circles around them. We can create computer chips that hold more information than a myriad of human brains; perhaps we can develop a reliable method to vote. I certainly hope one of the first bills before the new congress will be election reform, that we’ll have a nationwide system of voting with a mandated paper trail so we won’t have to live in fear of not being counted.
I do wonder what it’s like to be Obama, to create a landslide so powerful his opponents were buried, then wake up the next morning buried along with them, and us. He has to gather the rubble and rebuild the world, stop the meltdown of the economy and of the icebergs, re-form the health-care system. And he doesn’t seem daunted. Though he’s a moving speaker, he’s not a demagogue. The question now is: though he’s a thinker, a doer, a mover, is he a demigod? That’s what we need.