November 7, 2008

Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole! Obama! Obama!

Here I am.

I was rather caught up these past two weeks in the excitement and hype and occupied all my computer time with OCD checking of news stories and polls and photos and after stories and follow-ups and commentaries…. Finally coming back to trying to arrange some sort of normal relationship with the media and the internet although not entirely there yet.

So who isn’t excited?

Seems the whole world is.

A poll before the election by Globo, the dominant media outlet showed that 91% of Brazilians were in favor of Obama winning (I have no idea who those other 9% were.)

I really wish I could have been in New York to dance in the streets. Or Chicago or San Francisco or anywhere state side (except maybe Appalachia – I read somewhere that they actually voted MORE Republican this election than before – yikes.) But we were here, watching it all go down on CNN at 3:30am, as teary-eyed and emotional as we would have been back in Brooklyn.

The next evening, the 5th, we went out to celebrate C’s birthday. We made toasts to C and then to Obama and as the evening wore on and the beer continued to flow, the toasts to Obama became more and more numerous and the other people in the restaurant got into it too and pretty soon we had all the Brazilians toasting away to Obama as each new bottle was brought out.

It is hard to imagine that any one person could do so much to boost moral around the world and rebuild the self- esteem of Americans, especially those abroad. After the last three years here, having to apologize for my country and the President and the war and explain and remind people that, “No “we” did not vote him into office. Half of us or more voted against him - both times,” it now feels really good to hold my head high and say yes I am American, and THIS is how we deal with our mistakes – with resounding, loud and definitive strokes. We make it big. We make it historic.

Obama’s win holds special poignancy in Brazil – home to the largest population of the African diaspora in the world. Nearly 50% of the population identify themselves as being black or mixed race heritage. Brazil has enormous obstacles to over come in terms of closing its infamous economic disparity. Improving trade relations with the US would go a long way to helping that – it wouldn’t be everything, but it could make up a lot of ground. And a US president that looks like he could be one of them makes everyone excited that maybe it will finally happen. When he comes to visit, he will certainly be greeted with a hero’s welcome. Can’t wait.

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