I often feel somewhat uncomfortable with and out of place in the context of what it means to most Americans to "be American". As a Christian my highest allegiance is not to the United States, but to the Beloved Community that is all of God's children on this glorious planet. For me, I don't care about America being "#1" in the world, and while I think our flag is beautiful, it is not where my hope lies. I struggle on a daily basis to live faithfully in a culture that places so much of it's identity in consumption, image, individualism and an unsustainable wealth. I get a little uncomfortable in crowds of flag wavers because I can't help but think of all the injustice that has and continues to be the basis of so many of our "freedoms." That being said, I do love this country and while I reject the dichotomy of "love it or leave it" I love it and try to make it better. And so it was with great excitement and tears in my eyes that I watched a black man raised by a single mother accept the Democratic nomination for the United States of America. Now this is an example of the American Dream that I can get into! The whole "American Dream = home ownership, 2.2 kids and money to spend at the mall" thing doesn't work for me, but I do get excited about the American Spirit that Obama was talking about, one that dreams of a better world for our children, reaching out in mutual aid for our neighbors in need, and creatively meeting the problems that we face today, many that we have created over the past few decades as our nation has collectively refused to face the results of our own actions. As Obama said tonight, George Bush didn't create all of the problems that we face today, but his government failed to respond appropriately to many of them. Government isn't the solution to our problems, we the people are, but government has the responsibility to facilitate justice and order among citizens. I am ready for a president who will not invite us to shop in the face of adversity (yup, it's true!), but to come together and take responsibility not only for ourselves, but for one another. Obama reminds us of what we all share in common, and the need to treat one another with basic human dignity. There is so much division, hurt and animosity in our country right now, and I don't think anything but the love of God can heal that, but I do think that Obama is someone who can bring people together and unite people under a common vision.
Okay, a moment of honesty.... My original post got eaten by typepad, and it's now so late that I can't type straight, but I just had to share my excitement after watching Obama's speech. I am so ready for a poitician who can inspire us to be better together. His speech was not all about getting people excited--in fact it was sobering and laying out a picture of the work we have ahead of us. But evoking the spirit of MLK, he challenged us press on and not give up, because the work we have to is GOOD WORK. Fourty-five years ago Martin Luther King gave his famous "I have a dream" speech in the midst of the evils of segregation. In those days black people where hosed down with fire hoses, brutally beaten and lynched. And today a black man stands poised to be the next president of the United States. We really have come a long way, and while we still have a long way to go, for the first time in a long time I feel a rising sense of hope for the future of this country. Go Obama!