Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Look of the Election from West 106th Street

When I got on line to vote this morning, I recognized a handsome young man from my building right in front of me.

"Alex?" I poked his shoulder, "Is this your first time voting?" "Yep, just turned 18." He was a toddler when I moved in 15 years ago. I watched him grow up in the hallways and on the front stoop.

Walking home, I wondered what it might mean for him, the son of a black father and a white mother, living in a—still—very diverse neighborhood in New York City, to cast his first presidential vote with Barack Obama on the ballot.

I don't mean to deny hockey moms their moment, but Sarah Palin and her running mate have much to answer for once this campaign is over. Their rallies revealed a shameful side of American culture and legitimized it by handing it a bullhorn. We can only hope that the race-baiting, xenophobia, and culture-war hysterics Palin stirred up will sink back into the mucky bottom after tonight.

It's time to wipe the lipstick off the pit bulls!

It's time to celebrate the dignity of a young man from West 106th Street casting his first presidential vote. When he hopes for the future, I want to know what he sees.