I don’t know what you were doing on Jan. 20, but I slept through the whole presidential inauguration. Having to work the previous night and taking advantage of the last precious moments of sleep before the spring semester, I missed such a historic moment. I’ve seen it a million times on YouTube re-runs, but to have missed the live spectacle shared by millions around the world is unforgiveable.
As I crawled out of bed to check out the remainder of the day’s festivities, I caught a glimpse of my one-year-old nephew staring at the TV. He was probably thinking about Elmo and bugars, but there he was, glued to the TV like it was a huge vanilla wafer.
“You missed the big day,” said my sister. “Shoulda put your alarm on time.”
I sat next to my nephew in time to catch a glimse of President Obama strutting through a crowded luncheon, where lawmakers cheered him on.
There he was, our first African-American president. It took us a long time, but we finally got there.
Watching my nephew applaud along with the rest of the world, I couldn’t help but think what this means for him and the rest of the children of color in the United States; for women, the LGBT community, the disabled; American Muslims and other humans who don’t necessarily fit the mold of the past 43 presidents. To see someone finally arrive to the members-only club is to know that there is hope.
“I want to be president,” is a common answer given by kids asked what they want to be when they grow up. I don’t know if children in minority groups actually believed in the posibility before Obama.
Hollywood tested Americans by offering a “different kind” of president in the movie “Deep Impact,” where Morgan Freeman played one.
Has President Obama’s arrival to the White House meant that we live in a post-racial society? Probably not. It’s absolutely a huge leap forward. Whether the next president is Asian-American or a gay from West Hollywood, the door has been kicked wide open.
I don’t know if my nephew will get into politics (I hope not), but knowing that he has the option somehow makes me feel better. Or whatever.