Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Election According to the Kids

The African adoption blogs were fairly busy when Barack Obama won the presidency. I let Abegail stay up and watch a little. I knew this was something she would think back on and remember where she was. This is not political. It's about a new identity figure for our black kids. Too often they are seeing black people on the news as defendants in murder and rape trials, residents of homeless shelters, and pulled over on the side of the road in handcuffs. Now there is someone new they can look up to. Someone who's hard work paid off. I am constantly aware that I am the future mother of a black man. The world will not be the same for him as it is for his white father. But just maybe he will see a black man as president as much as he sees those mug shots.

Here's some of the reaction written:

Politics and issues aside. Our new President elect has already made an impact on my six year old African American son who picked up our newspaper today and said "He looks just like me"

That makes it so special.

My 9 and 8 year old (Ethiopian-born) daughters have been intrigued with the whole campaign because "this Obama guy looks just like us." My 8 year old thinks it is not fair she cannot become President because she wasn't born in the US... (She wrote about that in an essay at school.)

Pretty good if kids in elementary are getting excited about all this.

Oh great, I was holding my breath on this one but now I get to say Woo Hoo!! Us too!!! Solomon, age 6, knows very well that Barack Obama looks like him, has roots in East Africa, and was raised by a white mom. I got to shake Barack Obama's hand in November 2007 when he came to my place of work to give a speech. I told him I had read his autobiography (which is GREAT, by the way), and that it gave me hope I wasn't screwing up my adopted Ethiopian son completely. He laughed (what a 1,000 kilowatt smile that guy has, and it was all for me!!) and said "I'm sure you're not." What a story I have to tell my boy! We are walking on air.

I say yes. You can rejoice. I know I am. I had tears in my eyes when Anderson Cooper declared Obama the president elect. Whether you were a supporter of McCain or Obama, you have to admit it's nice to see that final racial barrier fall. Some of the shackles of our disgusting past have fallen off and the freedom feels wonderful.

Obama's election has certainly ignited the dreams and hopes of many who haven't felt valued in our political process...the youth and persons of color (which describes our kids! :-). Funny story....Alazar (11) got up to go to the bathroom late at night and we told him Obama would be the next president. When he stumbled out of his room the next morning, he had his Obama pin on his pajamas!

Quotes from the kids:

Annie: Mommy, which one is John McCain?
M: He's the one who looks like a Grandpa.
Annie: Oh, the one with white hair? But Rocko Bama is going to be president?
M: Yes
Abegail: He's the one who has skin like mine.
Annie: And then John McCain?
M: No, then Joe Biden.

Annie: What's Joe Pommer going to do? (a hint that we watch too much news)
M: He's going to fix leaky pipes. You know travel around with Dora the Explorer and Thomas the Tank Engine and if they see a faucet on, they'll turn it off. Then he'll hang out with Bob the Builder and put bathrooms in the new homes he builds.

Emmanuel: Mommy, Barack Obama is president?
M: Yes.
Emmanuel: Mommy, Barack Obama is president???!!
M: Yes.
(this goes on several more times, each time the volume increases)
Annie: (chanting and marching) ROCKO Bama..Rocko BAMA...


Anonymous said...

I have not been an Obama supporter because there were several policies I didn't agree with him on, but it was very historic and nice to see that barrier fall and see that race really can become less of an issue!

Valerie said...

I have have more questions about this election then I have any other single topic! WOW!

Anonymous said...

My daughter found this letter to the editor in the Des moines Register. I won't write the entire letter but I think the first line speaks volume!

Rosa sat so Martin could walk; Martin walked so Obama could run; Obama ran so our children could fly!

Isn't that cool?

Scott Richardson said...

So true. I really think people are starting "get" just how significant this time in our history really is. There's something about Barack Obama winning that is truly transcending typical politics. It's really encouraging to see conservatives who may have voted for McCain saying that they can appreciate - and even celebrate - Obama's victory.

Not sure if Obama's going to be a good, bad, or even a great President...but as history writes itself, we should all understand - and celebrate - the significance of what our country has overcome.