Nov 3, 2008

Election Eve

We stand at a crossroads, America. A crossroads that has been hyped up a lot more than it may actually represent. I think the crossroads is not between a splintered America and a post-race America, or even one that has a more sophisticated take on its own complex racialized heritage and history.

I think more than anything, a peaceful change of power with a large part of the eligible electorate actually participating that just results in more snide comments and bitterness rather than bloodshed, would mark the movement of America from the democracy that is more concerned about defending its "freedom" by bombing others to one that celebrates the exercise of that basic tenet of true liberty: the ability of a nation to say "enough is enough"... even if the subtitle would be "and now for something not entirely different."

So here we are, America. It could be that today is the last day of an old era. Not just that of Bushs and Clintons in the White House, but also of the undercurrent of national discourse that recognizes that there has always been and still remains great inequality in this nation. I don't know whether the whole post-race and post-affirmative action angle will come in quickly or later as the conservatives in both parties regroup and rethink their attack on the poor, the dark, and the newcomers, but it will come.

The backlash towards whatever is left will definitely come. The brunt of anger and distrust will not fall upon the new leader, surrounded as he can be by the best that our money can train. The battleground, bloody or cold and calculated, will be in many states and towns across this nation. The targets will be simple, unchanged folks who hadn't suddenly felt like they won a lottery just because someone who looks like them but has had all kinds of access through education and opportunity was just elected president.

That's the funny thing: privilege seems to be okay if you don't realize you have it no matter how much you benefit from it. But if people in power even suspect that someone else will get some shade under that parasol of privilege, it's over: they will do what they can to stomp that out early. That ground game will be demoralizing if it happens, but mainly to those of us in the know, I think, because we won't write it off as just a coincidence or random events.

We'll connect those dots.

So this is a crossroads America. And it isn't. We'll travel together down the next road that you choose, but if it's another dead end or dive off a deep end, you're on your own this time.

2 comments:

fathima said...

thanks for this. it's good to hear a measured consideration of what this win will actually mean for continued anti-racist/anti-oppressive activism.

Rage said...

Thanks for reading/writing back. I feel anxious but also more hopeful than I have that people may start to see the value in being organized beyond what our "leaders" tell us to do.

We'll see.