I had been eligible for American citizenship for quite a while, but I only made up my mind when Bush was reelected in 2004: I wanted to vote the next time around. After a longish but uneventful naturalization process, I became an American citizen two years ago. Quite frankly, it felt mostly like a bureaucratic procedure and I still thought of myself as French. I started to feel some stirrings when I cast my vote in the Democratic primary in February. Readers of this blog know I was a Clinton supporter but I had zero qualms supporting Obama once he was the nominee, and yesterday I voted for him 110%. (Factoid: voting with one hand—especially when you're not experienced with the New York system—while trying to film with the other is hard!)
This morning, I can say that for the first time, I am an American. I feel American. There is no shame anymore in holding this passport. And in fact, it's the country holding my other passport, the French one, that suddenly looks archaic with its antiquated power structure and elite-grooming system.
In the meantime, the tears have got to stop! Cars honk in triumph: I well up. Strangers scream in joy: waterworks. I look at the newspapers' covers and it's sob time.
But the thing that really, really gets me is when I think of the point in Obama's acceptance speech when he said America is "young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled." I know this is par-for-the-course verbiage, but at the same time it means a lot that he included gay people. I didn't think it would matter so much to me, but it does. Especially since as I write, it looks like the loathsome Proposition 8 making same-sex marriage illegal has passed in California. Part of me hopes it's just the death throes of a certain kind of mean-spirited, exclusionary thinking, but at the same time I'm not blinded enough by last night's triumph to actually believe it. We may be energized, but so is the dark side.
So yeah, I'm euphoric right now. It won't last long because the country's in a right old mess, but we can savor victory for a bit. Our side had forgotten what it tastes like.
1 day ago