Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election

On Wednesday morning at 5 am local time, I stepped outside to walk to my room and go to bed. I had just watched Obama's acceptance speech. The mosque nearby sounded the morning call to prayer. Half a world away, I've never been prouder to be an American.

This week 55 volunteers and I had a mandatory "In-Service Training" to discuss our successes and challenges from our first 6 months in site. This meant that we were all together in a hotel in Azrou to watch the election returns come in. About 40 volunteers stayed up to watch the returns come in. Not surprisingly, Peace Corps volunteers are almost all Obama supporters: I believe only one person amongst us voted for McCain.

When the election was called, everyone stood up and cheered and hugged and screamed. As we waited for the speech, we sang Our Country Tis of Thee and America the Beautiful. I'm a fairly unpatriotic person, but that changed Tuesday night. And then Barack gave his speech. It was the same sort of stuff that he's been saying the whole campaign, but it was a beautiful speech. America has plenty wrong with it, but this was an accomplishment for the country.

Living abroad makes me even more appreciative of the victory. Lots of people in Morocco have talked about the election. Mostly they are pro-Obama, but there are also lots who say they don't like Obama because he is black (there really isn't any stigma attached to racism here). But the vast majority of people that I've talked to have told me they don't think that Americans would vote for Obama because he is black. It is hard to understate this: by electing him, we have sent a message to the rest of the world at a time when our standing has fallen significantly. Now that Im back in my community, everyone wants to talk about the election and whats going to change. They say, mbruk Obama (congratulations). They all know that he is the first black president. There are lots of jokes about the black man in the White House.
So its exciting to be here. I know that there is no way that Obama can live up to the expectations people have for him, but so what?
Update
Just got back from week long IST, which was fun. Got to see all the people that I had training with and hadnt seen in 6 months. But Im also really glad to be back in my site.

1 comment:

Franny said...

yo dunc,

it was pretty crazy here let me tell you. mom told me she was going to bed and to stop calling her but i couldnt help myself and woke her up to celebrate with her. also, in my excitement, if someone had asked to get "OHIO '08" tattoos i might have done it. ill write a better account of it later this week. see you soon!

fran