Living within a Paradigm Shift is a peculiar form of excitement. It’s an unsettling thing to be present when the earth of life’s experience decides to metaphorically shift beneath ones feet. These are the moments when life reminds you that it has its own agenda; one which will not be defined by your personal fear, hesitation or pettiness.
When my eyes flicker open shortly before 7 a.m. in the morning on November 4, 2008, I briefly close them again, reflecting on what this day will mean by the time it ends at midnight.
It is that time in ones life where you must choose to step onto shifting sand with a belief that the drift will bring you to a better place in the end. That time when you are clear on one thing, refusing to step out in faith is akin to sinking downward in place.
On the threshold of this November morning, as America prepares to make Decision 2008, I’m preparing to create a little slice of personal history. I’m taking a brand New Citizen to the polls who will be casting her first vote. It’s my mother, a woman of African descent who at 75 completed her bachelors degree, became a US Citizen and registered to vote.
The polling station in my precinct is normally a little sleepy affair manned by patient poll workers waiting for individuals to drift in. On this day, the parking lot signals that Change is abreast. It’s full and I weave my car towards an edge of lawn to find a place to park. There is a sense of good expectation in the air. Folks bid each other “Good Morning” as we prepare to step in line.
The poll workers indicate that they’ve never seen anything like this before. I glance around me. I see the faces of America…young faces, children with their parents, an African American father with his toddler, older Americans, immigrants, folks on their way to work, and my mother…dressed in a smart beige outfit, befitting of the occasion.
After completing my civic duty with mom, my day takes me to various places. I drive by signs of support dotting the front yards of my community, their homes and cars. A group of students at an intersection waive signs urging people to remember to Vote.
I wear the proof of my action on my person…a little sticker which proclaims a simple fact, “I Voted.”
Yes, I Voted. I Voted for the turning of a new chapter in my nations history. I Voted for the Responsibility we each have to do our part in creating a better future. I Voted for the Hope and Promise that is embodied in this beacon of Hope, this Shining City on a Hill whose flame continues to shine despite the enormity of the challenges that she faces. I Voted with gratitude for the promise of my place in the American Dream.
As I closed my eyes, well into the wee morning hours of November 5, 2008, the images that color my memory are vivid reflections in living color. Scenes from a night in which the map of United States started to wash itself in the merged brilliance of blue and red; revealing the royalty of purple’s nobility and power to transform. Renewing my faith that our nation has the capacity to heal within the divides of east and west.
Images of two great men, one gracious in defeat and the other humble in victory. Images which capture a yearning of a people straining to break free of the chains of limitations and struggling to stem the tide which has set our nation adrift.
And flittering across the lens of my mind, there is one endearing image. This one of a woman who this day, claimed her place in the rich tapestry of a land we call home. Through her eyes, I am reminded again of the wonder of this extraordinary right that we each have to express a choice with clarity. This privilege to cast a vote within this sea of democratic tradition which defines the embodiment of our union of these United American States.
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