obama: yes we can!

obamaslavedriver in brazil“yes we can!”

i’m imagining the hero of my NaNoWriMo novel, joe – or kosi, his african name – watching obama’s acceptance speech tonight.

“yes we can!”

my novel spans close to 250 years, starting with a west african amazon who ends up a slave in louisiana. joe is her grandson. he dies and – well, he hangs around, learns things, starts to help people.

when he was a slave on that plantation by baton rouge, what would he have said if someone would have told him that in 200 years, a black man would become the president of the united states? and not just any president – a president committed to unity.

if someone would have told joe, a man who enjoyed the love of a man as much as the love of a woman, that this president, within the first few minutes of this historical speech, promised to bring together “young and old, rich and poor, democrat and republican, black, white, latino, asian, native american, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled” – would he have run away from the plantation, to die at the edge of the swamp? would he have stuck around and said,

“yes we can?”

how impossible that would have sounded for him back then.

yet later, when joe decided to hang around even after death, he began to learn … and maybe it’s the same lesson that obama learned.

but i don’t know what obama learned. what i know is that he is one of the few politicians who has ever captured me. there is something of gandhi and dr. martin luther king about him. what i know is that obama’s message goes straight to my heart:

“yes we can!”

would obama have been able to send that message 200 years ago?

i don’t think i’m making much sense right now. i am awestruck by what i have just witnessed.

“yes we can!”

i’ll let that take seed in my heart, and i’ll send the seed to my joe, and ask my muses to water and shelter it and send it good sunshine, so that my novel will blossom and be of service to the world; a tiny little metaphor, i’ll hope, for a peaceful, united, and affirming future for this great country to our south, america.

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