Wednesday, November 05, 2008
A Proud, Proud Day for the United States of America
I started this blog four years ago today.
I started it out of frustration with the sordid relationship between our political system and our mass media. As the title of this blog ought to suggest, I thought that our systems of mass communication were leaving most Americans IN THE DARK.
While that situation has clearly not entirely been rectified, and I remain terribly concerned about the ignorance that emperils us (just yesterday before voting, I spoke with a woman who told me she voted for the guy "with the Vice President from Canada" -- I wish I were making this up), I am heartened by what I've seen this past few years. And last night, as I watched the election returns, and cheered with my wife as the polls on the west coast closed and Senator Barack Obama became President-elect Barack Obama, and we listened, teary-eyed, to his victory speech, I felt prouder to be an American than I have in many, many years.
When I started this blog, I believed that the United States of America was living in the darkest hour of my lifetime. US Intelligence agencies were being politicized. Hundreds of thousands were dying in Iraq (and still are). The Iraqi insurgency was just finding its legs. Domestic surveillance of private individuals was just beginning. And -- even before Abu Ghraib -- observers were criticizing US interrogation techniques as "torture."
And the mass media largely ignored or downplayed everything, or aided and abetted the Bush administration's conceptual construction of a "post-9/11 world." It was the perfect prescription for fascism.
I won't dwell long on what the election of Barack Obama means to me personally. As the son of Irish immigrants to the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, let me just say that I am happy for him. As a university professor in an urban setting in a large American city, I feel my students' joy and I celebrate with them, knowing that many of their parents can hardly believe this day has actually come. But as an American, I am extremely proud today, not just because we have turned our backs on centuries of hatred and elected an African-American President, but also because we have managed to see beyond the fear, resentment, greed and hatred that have characterized the last eight years, and rejected the policies they spawned. This is what I am truly proud of.
The dawn is breaking. I think I see the light. It's morning in America.