November 8, 2008

Are We a Winner? I Think We Are

By David A. Love
Color of Law
November 7, 2008

Are we a winner? Yes, I think we are.

“And never let anybody say ‘Boy, you can't make it,’” as Curtis Mayfield once told us…

It was the fourth day of the eleventh month of a new era,
And we were there,
But there were many who had come before us,
Oh, they’ve been waiting as well.
This day was for Harriet and Frederick, for Martin, Malcolm and Rosa,
For Fannie Lou, who was sick and tired of being sick and tired,
And let’s not forget Viola, or the three brothers who were lynched in Mississippi - one Black and two Jews.

But most of all, there were those African souls who built the White House from the ground up, and without pay,
See their blood, sweat and tears etched in that stone?
That house was built by them, but never was meant FOR them,
And while they were deemed suitable to prepare a meal for its rightful occupants,
An occupant of this prime real estate they never would become,
Never could become.

Are we a winner? Are we? Yes, my brother, that we be.

It was the day when America, in spite of itself,
Demonstrated a willingness to redeem itself.
So, let’s say goodbye to the old way of thinking,
To the failed race card divisions, and the cynical hustling and deceptions,
To the misplaced priorities and cold-blooded policies,
To the barrel-scraping and bottom-feeding, and the megalomaniacal Machiavellian madness,
To the destructive wars abroad and crumbling society at home,
And the bigoted mediocrity that once passed for capable leadership.

The fourth day of the eleventh month was a bittersweet one for me.
While other fathers of the tribe were exuberant and hopeful,
Thrilled that they could take their children to the polls
To be a witness to history,
My tears of joy mingled with tears of sorrow,
Since my baby boy did not live to see this moment
When someone like him could be the President, when he could be the President, and it wasn’t just a cliché.

Are we a winner? Yes, sister, it appears we are.

So I say this to you as I propose this toast:
Raise your glass to a future drunk with our expectations
Of a world that values human rights over property rights,
And the builders, teachers and healers are in greater demand than the speculators, fat cats and power grabbers.

Have we found the magic wand that will make all the ugly disappear?
I don’t think so.
Have we discovered the secret elixir that will cure all our ills? Hardly.
But this is a good start, and we have to start somewhere.

What comes next is up to us,
As this flawed, imperfect experiment called democracy is not a spectator sport.
And after you imbibe, it’s time to get to work,
So we can clean up the mess that hate, neglect and ineptitude created.

So, are we really a winner? We are if we want to be.

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