Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mandate From Heaven

Greatness beckons us.

You and I.

It strode across a massive stage on a cold Chicago night. It wasn't just embodied in the skinny, black man in the dark suit, but also evident in the smiling face of his adoring wife and beautiful children.


In ancient Chinese culture, the emperor was seen as a deity in human form. His reign was considered the will of the gods and he was granted the "mandate from heaven." He reigned supreme over all.

We do not consider our political leaders to be gods in America. Too often in our history we have seen just how human and fallible politicians can be. But, Tuesday night, we saw a man receive the modern day equivalent of a mandate of heaven.

Not because of the size of his victory. That was only a minor issue. No, even if Obama had won by one vote his victory would still be a mandate.

See, the people of these Divided States of America have elected their eternal bogeyman to be the symbol that represents us before the world. A country that once hung black men from trees for smiling at white women, now has a president who is the product of miscegenation.

That is greatness.

I have been a reluctant American. There is no other way to put. Through an accident of birth I was granted the privilege of growing up in this country. Many times I have scoffed at that right, I have minimized the importance of that privilege.

Not now.

I listened to a man speak words of power, of hope, of idealism that touched a core within me that I often forget exists. It's a core I've protected, that I've hidden, that I have purposely forgotten. It was something that could have only happened in this country.

He touched my personal greatness.

I'm sure he touched many of you in the same way. As I saw tears stream down the faces of people in that enormous crowd in Chicago I was certain that others had been touched.

President Barack Obama, (Good God that felt good), makes you want to be a better person. He makes you want to believe in those myths that you were taught in civics class and American History. President Obama gives you hope.

It is not a hope built on lies or deception. It's a hope built on the cold hard fact that each and every human being has the potential to be more than just mediocre. We are not bound by our most base impulses, nor are we beholden to the evil that so often invades our minds. We can be more, we can do more, we have more inside of us.

We all have greatness.

We all have a mandate from heaven.



Esquire said...

Well said Big Man. Well said.

Darth Whitey said...

I am profoundly proud of our nation tonight. I was sooooo scared but the people came through. Racists, we are not. Our long national nightmare is over!!!

Big Man said...

I'm glad you're happy, I'm going to give you a pass on the racist comment.

Macon D said...

Well darth, racists we whities still are, but yeah, that reality can wait a bit. But only a bit.

A country that once hung black men from trees for smiling at white women, now has a president who is the product of miscegenation.

That is greatness.

That bears repeating. And repeating again. Thank you for it. said...

Hey there!

Barack Hussein Obama....44th president of the United States.

Well....WE run his piece now!! *lol*

aegil said...

Big Man,
Your post is beautiful. I cried while I read it.
President Barack Obama - also beautiful.
It's rainy and dreary here, and it's a beautiful morning. Have a great day, everyone.

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Man you made me cry too because we watched our world change last night. I still don't have the words to put together. I don't.

Oh yeah I'm stealing this line for my facebook hell I'm gonna put this post on my facebook. *lol*



des said...

"Greatness beckons us."

You could have stopped right there and it would have been enough.

In the movie " As Good As It Gets", Jack Nicolson's character said to Helen Hunt's; " You make me want to be a better person." That's what President-Elect Barack Obama does for me.

Deacon Blue said...

There is little I can say, as you've said it all so well already, Big Man.

Part of the reason I haven't made a post yet about how happy I am and why I celebrate this victory (and probably won't until tomorrow) is because I feel today is more a day for those who are non-white...who have seen a barrier knocked down that was every bit as oppressive as the Berlin Wall and probably far more so...than it is a day for the rest of us.

It's a great day, and I'm happy. But I think I may be happier for my black family members, and my black friend and peers on the blogs, and...hell...every minority who wanted to see a president who wasn't white and privileged.

Congratulations to the Obama family...but congratulations to all of you as well. God bless, and let's get this show going...can we fast forward to the swearing in now?

Lolo said...

"Live, live, it's all the way live ...."

We did it, people. We did it live and I'm proud of every single one of us who stood tall and strong and made it happen.

Air-Cooled Head said...

Last nights election results said a lot.
It said that Americans, as a whole, can rise above the racism, hatred and bigotry that runs deep in our society, that our media presents to the world.
It said that our country is not one of Black people, White people, and other people. It is a country of ONE people.
And my most fervent prayer is that it sends a message to Black people. It says being Black can no longer be an excuse. It says being Black is NOT a handicap, unless you want it to be. It says that Blacks can accomplish anything IF WE WORK TOGETHER. It says that no one can hold us back when we are determined to succeed. It says that our future is indeed, in our own hands.
God I hope we get it!

Imhotep said...

Yes we can!

Big Man said...

Air-Cooled head said:
"It says that no one can hold us back when we are determined to succeed."

I really feel like this. Not that life is easier for black people or that racism isn't a problem throughout our society. But, I feel like having a black man as president makes strong-minded determined black people say "Yes I can."

Look, the road is still going to be tough. But the toughest journeys begin with a single step. This is that single step. This is truly the realization of a dream deferred. Martin didn't make, Malcolm didn't make, Jesse and them changed on us.

But, Obama made it. He really made it. He succeeded at something that everyone thought was impossible and he did it in his own lifetime.

That is so powerful.


I'm going to have a post tomorrow about the whole afterglow of this thing. Just, how do I feel now that it's sinking in. Plus, you should celebrate and rejoice for yourself, not just for black people. Sure, it's probably impossible for a white person to completely understand what this means to so many black people, but you CAN understand what it means to white people like you.

White people who have endured slights and hurts as they've tried to better themselves and forge relationships with black people. It's not easy and it's not something that many white people have the personal grit to do. So celebrate that you have tried and this election proved that it was worth.

That goes for you too MODI if you read this piece.

Mizzo said...

I'm still not sure if this is right or wrong, but I'm almost proud to be an American.

Esquire said...

Man, where do you get those great pics! Love the Down goes McCain!

MODI said...

Big Man, what a beautiful post... a truly beautiful post...

and captured the essence of why he will be a great president... everyone wants to reach our greatness

Big Man said...


I stole that from SLAM.

It's a t-shirt that Undercrown produces. I'm debating whether I'm going to cop one.

Darth Whitey said...

Wow check this out, on
the map thing there, look at the second frame!

Those parts, yes, definitely racist. But give me a break, Obama won by 7 million+ votes!!! :-)


Big Man said...

I'm very unhappy about this Prop 8 thing and the role black people played in it.

It's very disturbing to think that if black turnout in cali had been lower this thing wouldn't have passed.

We sided with the Mormon Church, and organization that wouldn't even allow us in its doors, let alone its heaven, until 1978.

Sometimes my people are very disappointing.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

"A country that once hung black men from trees for smiling at white women, now has a president who is the product of miscegenation. That is greatness.",

That hit me square between the eyes, Big Man. My late father, born in 1910, used to infuriate me in the 70s when I discovered he could not look at a white woman directly in conversation, whether she was a coworker or the waitress at Pancake House. By the early 80s I sadly realized he had been conditioned like a Pavlovian dog to fear this and despite the gains of Civil Rights, could not overcome it.

Well, we overcame a helluva lot of bad history last night! Amen!

This was a magnificent post in all the other things you said as well. Thank you.

WNG said...

That is the best post you've written.

I'm proud of all of us and I am proud of you.

Much love Big Man.

TADOne said...

Deep, really deep. I enjoyed this read my man. It is true that this doesn't end all racism, but it will erase some apathy with people who are afraid of the unknown.

Congrats to Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I am still just dazed but what you wrote really resonated with me.

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

@darth- racism, sexism, ageism and all the other ism still exists DESPITE Obama's victory

What the victory says is NONE of those isms should ever get in the way of your dreams for if you keep on keeping on IN SPITE of them YOU CAN achieve your dreams


older_not_wiser said...

Big Man: great post. The next year or two is going to be something to experience.

I'm very unhappy about this Prop 8 thing and the role black people played in it.
This is the issue that was most instrumental in getting me to register to vote this year, after nearly three decades. The idea that this ignorant bigotry is now enshrined in the California constitution is infuriating and, at the risk of sounding shallow, embarrassing. I had really hoped Californians, at least, would not be taken in by the lies and misdirection.

@Darth and others: It's become increasingly clear to me that racism doesn't require hatred, or even fear. It's a feeling of otherness, and the willingness to make assumptions about people on the basis of that otherness. For all that has changed in the relationship between America's black and white citizens, this certainly has not.

On a related note I thought you-all might enjoy this article by columnist Sandy Banks [,0,466900.column] in today's LA Times. I'll not try to summarize, but would like to point out a couple of passages that struck me. First is Ms Banks casual mention of the impetus for her father's family's move from Georgia to Cleveland OH in the 1920s. Add to that a quote I read today, to the effect of, when Barak Obama was born black people could not legally vote in parts of this country, and many were killed for trying.

My own personal epiphany about "what's bugging black people" came from stories such as these, and the realization that virtually every person of black African descent in America has such a story, through a grandparent, a parent, or even from first-hand experience.

The second is her interview of Anna Kormos, a Clintonista who rose above her bitterness and did some soul searching before the election. Anna didn't consider herself racist, but perhaps harbored a "fear of black people who were not like me." Anna's story is both an illuminating example of racism in modern America and an inkling of how it will, eventually, be vanquished.

Big Man said...

Older and wiser.

Thanks for that link.

Raving Black Lunatic