Speaker by Various Artists

13

Dreams Do Come True

by Tracey Barnett

Wait, Unicorns have just hammered the Death Eaters. Hell does freeze over. And yes, though America does believe that Barack Obama is still “the change we need” I know differently. Rupert Murdoch is really our man.

What a difference a day and 303 electoral college votes makes. Suddenly we have Mr. Media tweeting:

Must have sweeping, generous immigration reform, make existing law-abiding Hispanic’s welcome. Most are hard working people.

Wait, Soothsayers, it gets better. Conservative Honey Sean Hannity has apparently “evolved” on his immigration position just two days after the Democratic party took 75% of the Latino vote. He now supports a “pathway to citizenship”.

Bring it on. Welcome to the new face of American political power; Brown, black, young, gay, urban and female. America got it right last night. Not just because they chose the right man, but because they read the tea leaves.  Not Tea Party leaves either. Let me introduce you to her New Establishment. A young, under-employed black student in St. Louis wants the same things as the Cuban American accountant in Miami and the thirty-something woman executive in Boulder.  Who knew?  Obviously, not the Republicans.

Here is this election’s biggest takeaway: The Good Ole’ White Boys aren’t the sure winner anymore.  You’d better believe that feels damned threatening to the white men parked in boardrooms or the now shaky fixtures in the Houses of Congress. Twenty women just marched into the US Senate, 81 in the House, one Senator openly gay. Marriage equality bills passed in three more states. Recreational marijuana use passed in Colorado, whose new license plate will probably now read, “Welcome to the Doobie State”.

No wonder this election felt so ridiculously ugly and contentious.  The older, white, rural and suburban male power base of the last handful of centuries just lost one leg of its stool and it’s fighting hard not to topple over.  It turns out, that was the exact portrait of a Romney voter.

Barak Obama won this election having taken a measly 39 percent of the shrinking white vote.  But just turn your head to the rising tide of what the new balance of American power looks like: Obama took 93 percent of the black vote, 75 percent Latinos, 73 percent Asians, 60 percent of young people [who surprisingly turned out in greater numbers than 2008] and won over women by a whopping 18 points.  The Latino vote alone has grown 22 percent since 2008.

If there is one silver lining to a country that has acted like a Jersey Shore punch up for the last 18 months, it is this; America now has to listen to the wants of its own diversity. Why? It won’t have any other choice.  The power of this new rainbow force is that an entire generation has come of age just assuming they have a right to pull up their chair to the Big Table.  This election just might have proved they collectively captured the throne.

Four years ago, I stood sniffling with the best of us, welcoming in America’s first black president like the Messiah-meets-Black-Power-Ranger.  Yes, Barak Obama quickly morphed back into a real man with dirt on his toes and deficits in his dreams. 

But in four short years, something changed irrevocably. Something no one could ever have dreamed of that inauguration day, as I watched Jesse Jackson cry openly and older black women carrying photos of their ancestors pinned to the inside of their coat pockets to be beside them at that momentous marker in U.S. history.  Just four years later, and not once in over 1 million commercials costing over a billion dollars, did I see Barack Obama’s race become a part of this election.

Sure, Obama and Romney hammered each other on every dirty talking point to infinity and beyond, racking up an astounding 40 percent more ads than just four years ago. To be sure, this was an unashamed, unprecedentedly negative, ugly campaign.

But here is the definitive kicker that history should note: It may have taken almost 50 years since Martin Luther King had a dream, but in 2012 Barak Hussein Obama was re-elected President of the United States solely based on the content of his character—and not the colour of his skin. America finally, finally has come into its own multi-coloured complexion.  This election was utterly colour blind. The proof? Nobody noticed.

What a kick in the face.  Dreams do come true. Last night Barak Obama proved something the entire cynical political world still needs to hear: Hope isn’t a dirty word.

Tracey Barnett is a Kiwi-American citizen and political commentator. Except for this week. She is most definitely an American-Kiwi, at peace with both halves.

 You can read more of her work at her website.

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