Just for my readers who don’t know, I’m a white chick. I come from a long line of white people, and my long line of white people have mostly been poor farmers. They fought on both sides of the civil war. They fought in the American Revolution. They fought in Vietnam and in every war that America has engaged in since the dawn of this nation. My family has always been intensely proud of that heritage. My cousin has served in Iraq and we are all very proud of him for choosing the military life as an homage to my grandfather, who was an MP during World War II.
This is a rather lengthy bit of background to get to my point, but it is important because the point I have to make is about the changing of minds and attitudes between the generations. Admittedly, I did not vote for Obama, but I didn’t vote for him out of self-preservation reasons, more than anything else. Obama intends to make some changes that will hurt my family financially, not because I dislike the man, or think that he won’t necessarily make a good president. My grandfather, however, would have voted for his first Republican, ever.. this year and his reasons would have been much less personally motivated.
My grandfather would have voted for McCain because he’s white, and Obama is black.
My father voted for Obama. As a matter of fact, the entire rear window of his pick up truck screams support for the democrats, and my father and I had a conversation about this early in the election season. My father said it to me very simply: “You know your grandfather never would have voted for a black man. He is probably rolling in his grave because I am going to vote for Obama, but I really believe that Obama is a good man, and he’s the right man. I don’t care that he’s black. I never cared about skin color.”
That sentence right there really just sort of hit me. You see, my dad is right and his words represent something far greater than he intended them to. His words represent change in thinking, change in ideas and change in attitudes. That fundamental change that African Americans have sought for a hundred years has finally born fruit, but it didn’t happen when Obama was elected. Obama’s election is merely evidence, proof of the existence of more open minds and a better world where skin color does not tell anyone about the difference between a good man and a bad man. The American public spoke out on that when it elected Obama as its next President and I have to say that even though I didn’t vote for the man, I am very proud of what his election represents for this nation. I am very proud that we have come so far in such a short period of time.
My grandfather would be grousing up a storm, but my dad would be there, as if to say, “It’s not your world anymore. I don’t believe what you believed and you taught me to think for myself and make up my own mind.”
And even if my grandfather wouldn’t agree with his decision, I think he would be proud that my dad stood up to him and made it on his own. Very proud indeed.