As I sit amidst the construction site that is my office (more on that later) my thoughts are consumed with the meaning of this day--the celebration of Martin Luther King and the impact his beliefs and work have had on our society. The United States has come a long way in the 45 years since his famous speech, and I can only imagine what he'd say tomorrow if he were still alive. I wish he was here to comment, because I know he'd say something eloquent and profound and I know I'd learn something. I can also only imagine what it feels like for the millions of African-Americans in this country as they finally watch one of their own move into the White House. I don't mean to mitigate the occasion by making it a black-and-white thing; but if I were African-American, I know I'd be over the moon! I have to be honest and say I wasn't sure I'd ever see a black president in my lifetime. I believed we'd see a white female at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue before we saw an African-American man. Boy, was I wrong!
I was a big Hillary supporter. I even changed my political affiliation in order to help her win Ohio in the primary. (I was an Independent before). And I'm even more embarrassed to admit that when push came to shove I voted for John McCain in the general election. Truth is I didn't feel passionately about either candidate. I really wanted Hillary to be the Democratic presidential nominee and when those hopes crumbled, I kind of lost interest. I know. Hard to believe, especially if you're a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. How could anyone not have been swept up in the exuberance that was Barack Obama's campaign? It does seem odd, especially now that I feel very hopeful and excited about him being our president. Let's just say I arrived "fashionably late" to the party. ;o)
Before November's election i listed the pros and cons of each candidate. I just didn't feel strongly moved one way or the other. It was disheartening to feel such apathy just hours before I went to vote. I'd never experienced that kind of indifference before. But a number of things bothered me about Mr. Obama, the least of which was his skin color. (I'm not going to belabor those concerns now because that's not what my post is about).
I'm not embarrassed to admit that I got it wrong. I hesitated in the voting booth and made the wrong choice. I am confident the rest of the country got it right, and I am eager to watch tomorrow's events unfold on TV. I'm happy that my children--that all of us--will witness history in action when Mr. Obama is sworn in as our 44th president. Tomorrow at noon will be another one of those, "I remember where I was when" moments. I've had a number of them in my lifetime and unfortunately, they've mostly been sad occasions: when John Lennon was murdered; when President Reagan was shot; the space shuttle disaster; and of course, 9/11. It warms me to know I'll be able to say with pride, "I remember where I was when Barack Obama was sworn into office." I'll be able to tell my grandchildren that I was sitting by myself in my family room when it happened. So Dr. King's dream may not be fully realized just yet as there are still strides to be made when it comes to race relations in the United States, but a large chunk of his reverie will come to fruition in less than 24 hours. Half of me still can't believe it's happening.
As for my office...my husband, talented woodworker and perfectionist that he is (thank God!) is building bookshelves for me in hopes that someday, when my picture is taken to show "the author at work at home" (ha ha) it will look like I have a real literary-style study/office. I'm kidding. I just need more bookshelf room and he likes doing projects that involve cutting wood with a saw. He's even thinking of installing a gas fireplace--even more worthy of a writer's office! I'll never want to leave the room! I know they'll be wonderful once they're finished, but for now this is what will surround me when I write over the next couple of months:
I'll keep you posted on his progress!