When the confetti fell the evening we elected Barack Obama, the future seemed full of possibilities. We had spoken. We had won. By we, I mean those of us who dared to dream of a better country, better healthcare, and most importantly a better future. Not only did our president finally believe what we did, but he promised to do his part in making us healthier, more educated, and more able to say with pride that we are Americans.
When the confetti fell I cried. I cried for every tear and blood soaked step African-American’s and women had to take towards gaining voting rights. I cried for every slave who looked to the sky and believed that we would one day gain our freedom and be able to stand as men and women. I cried for my forefathers who never got to see this day. I cried because Dr. King’s dream was no longer so out of focus; the clouds were opening up for his vision to become reality.
When the confetti fell I knew. I knew that it would take more than just this one man and his hope for us all to make this work. He said that day that it would take all of us. He saw the congressional gridlock and the partisan struggle ahead and tried to warn us. I knew that I had to do my part too.
When the confetti fell I embraced. I embraced the idea that in order for me to have the best things in life that I had to make room for others to have it also. I embraced the value of being unselfish and realized that my dream for my family could only be realized by also having that same dream for my fellow citizens.
When the confetti fell I committed. I committed to the good and the bad. I committed to the fact that it would not be easy. I committed to stand by the ideals that this President had talked about his whole campaign. I committed to never waver.
Now the confetti has long been swept away. Tough compromises have been made in order to make what we voted for on that cool evening in November palatable to those who do not want change. Racial epithets have been hurled. Nooses hung. Lies told. And we started to forget.
But the truth is in that confetti.
If I could only find a bag of it and go to every person who cried that night and toss some over their head.
If I only I could find every person that knew on that night that this would be a struggle.
If only I could find everyone who embraced the mission that night to do unto others as we would have done to ourselves.
If only I could find every person who committed that night to take the road less traveled and not look back.
I rubbed my belly that night, full of my unborn son who would be born just a month later. I realized that the confetti was falling for him too. Now at almost 2 years old, I have a constant reminder of my duty to make sure his future is full of the possibility I voted for on that night. With this duty comes the reality that I may not see one bit of the promise of election night, but that I must stay committed despite that. My vote today will reflect that choice, will yours?