November 8th, 2008 is one of those days that I will always remember, the election of the first black President of the United States, the man who was going to turn Washington on its head, and thus change the world. When I think about that day now, I feel cheated. I, like many Americans, was left wondering. What happened to my Hope and Change?
Election Day was euphoric as I remember it. I had just spent the better part of a year convincing everyone that would listen how important it was to elect Barack Obama. I even made my way down to the democratic headquarters in Dayton, Ohio on Election Day. I met an elderly African-American woman while I was there. I listened to her speak of how she never would have imagined that this day would ever come. As I listened to the hope and emotion in her voice I thought, today is going to be something special.
It was special. I put my Obama button on my shirt, slapped a bumper sticker on my car, and drove around the city that day. I felt like we as a country were going to be healed, healed by a man that represented everything what we had dreamed of. It was a special day.
I remember voting that day and looking into the eyes of people in line. There was a gleam that I never seen before, a simple nod and a smile between people that meant so much. We all knew we were participating in something special, something that we thought didn’t exist anymore. The American Dream was not dead for us that day. We all believed.
I watched in amazement in front of the TV that night. Truth be told, I could not hold back my tears, the images of commentators breaking down, the images of Americans all around the country coming together, the sheer magnitude of that was overwhelming. Could it be? Could this truly be the change we had been so looking for?
I look back on that day and wonder how we got to where we are today. I wonder where that man is. Where is the man we all believed in? Where is our hope and change?
Our country by no stretch has been in a terrible calamity since President Obama’s election. We have endured on of the worst recessions in our nation’s history, with another one on the horizon. People have lost their jobs, lost their pensions, lost their life savings; most importantly they have lost hope. Where is our hope and change?
We have endured government bailouts, stock market crashes, credit downgrades, more layoffs, stagnant economic growth, and government gridlock. Where is our hope and change?
I still remember that night on Election Day. I actually still look back at it in fondness. It was a special day. I really thought we were changing the world. We might have been naive. We might have been blinded by another charismatic politician. But for that one night, the American Dream lived. I only hope that one day we find our Hope and Change that we lost along the way.