So Barack Obama. Obama is everywhere. I don't mean this is a new age-y "we're surrounded by the promise of hope" way nor am I suggesting that our potential future president is a stalker. Instead, I think I mean that I cannot move throughout my days without encountering the election approximately every 15 minutes. Part of this is because I'm in Washington DC. Proximity to the actual movers and shakers of our political system does really charge this city with a particular energy.
However, it is everywhere. My program participants talk about Obama and how excited they are about him. I try to avoid talking about politics with our participants. I think casework is a little like a dinner party: I never bring up religion, sex or politics. However, they often (well, sometimes) want to talk about these things, especially Obama. Today a participant was wearing a white hat with very large black letters that said OBAMA. That was the entire hat. No other logo, no other message. I loved it.
We have an Obama pumpkin at my house. My lovely housemate Deanna carved her pumpkin (after carrying it all over DC. Twice.) To say "08 VOTE" with the "08" as the eyes and the "O" as the Obama "O" and as the mouth. So Obama pumpkin hangs out next to the Obama sign in the window.
On nice days, I walk home from work instead of taking 2 buses. And while I walk, I take in nature, foliage, and small animals. There may be an entire blog post on my musing about nature coming up... But anyway, one day when I was about half way home, I decided to start counting the political yard signs. And almost immediately I saw something that made me laugh out loud. By myself. One reasonably large yard had a total of three Obama signs. One on the far side, one in the middle, and one very close to their neighbors single "McCain/Palin" sign. The neighbor on the other side of the McCain sign had two Obama signs. So is that the correct ratio? 5 Obama to cancel out the negative energy of one McCain? It seems like a reasonable formula. However I wonder how a neighborhood potluck might go on that block...
At work, we even spent the staff bonding time at a particularly memorable staff meeting asking and attempting to answer: is America ready for a black president? (I'll come back to this)
So you would think that the culmination of this whole campaign for me should have been casting my vote for Obama. Instead it was a little anticlimactic. My absentee ballot arrived from Washington State on a night I was alone in the house. Unlike my sister I didn't even have an Obama shirt to wear while I filled in my bubbles very carefully. So I sat on the couch watching the show Greek on television and voted for Obama. There it was. My big moment. And then I very carefully affixed a stamp (Thanks MoM for sending me stamps with American flags on them) walked to the front door and clipped my ballot to the mailbox. No marching band, no film crew, no roommate with a digital camera. Just a girl from Washington State doing her part all the way from our Nations Capital.
And now, all this rambling might have a point.
To give my own personal answer the the question posed by my staff meeting: I hope America is ready. Not just for a black man, but for this man. Barack Obama.
Today, a volunteer caseworker who comes in once a week told me that when he sees me again we will have a new president. This event, so many years in the making is almost here.
What is America's answer? But the thing I really wonder is: Do we even know the question anymore?