Plenty of other people will have absolutely fabulous posts on their blogs about last night. They’ll go into the historical and political ramifications. I suppose I could do that, and probably will in the coming days, but right now I’m going to talk about what it meant to me, the personal. Last night I wept for my mama, Edith Marie Brooks-Smith Hardy. Born in 1929 in east Alabama, she was 36 years old before it was legal for her to vote. And she made damned sure she voted in any and all elections after that. Mama would’ve loved Barack Obama, and from her viewpoint he couldn’t have picked a better running mate. See, my mama was a C-Span junkie. She watched that network the way people watch reality television today. Biden was one of her favorites. She loved the fact that he was a family man, and that he cared about poor people. She would’ve loved that about Obama as well.
Despite growing up in the Jim Crow south, my mama was patriotic as all hell. She lost one brother in WWII, and another brother liberated concentration camps in Europe only to return home to the back of the bus. But she still loved America. In the last years of her life, however, mama started changing. As she struggled with her final illness and dealt with an impossible to navigate healthcare system she lost a lot of faith in this country. It was painful to watch.
So, last night I cried. I wept because it’s only been six years since she died and I’m so damned sorry she missed this. I wept because my son can grow up in a country where anything is possible, a privilege that I never had. It’s been a long time, a long time coming, but indeed, change did come. My mama, always the eternal optimist would’ve appreciated that. And somehow, I believe she does.