The World Must Be Ok

(48 hr of perspective)

3pm Election Day November 4, 2008 – I voted for the first time. No long lines, no lines at all, no campaign supporters pushing pamphlets at me and no protesting crowds. Only two college kids guiding me through the election process. Not sure if I feel a sense of pride or disbelief that my vote will effect change positively.

7pm sitting in a bar waiting on election results. I ordered a draft beer. The bartender places the mug in front of me with an orange wedge on the brim of the glass and charges me $4.80. The patrons are talking about the NFL, pizza, and cheap gas prices and I just ordered a five-dollar beer. The world must be ok.

Twenty-one months of following this election, I just acted on my civic duty and I sit alone in a bar drinking overpriced draft beer. Watching the lives of other people I open my journal to write. Loud crash of breaking dishes from the back of the bar kitchen bring the crowd to a hush. Smiles, giggles and a sense of – glad I didn’t do that to bring life back into the clientele. The TV channel is turned from election coverage to college football reruns – the world must be ok.

7:30 pm I write a letter in my journal to my daughter. I title it “Life”, it’s a love letter of sorts with lessons that I hope to teach her. A little boy runs into the table at which I sit. He and his family are sitting across the room from me eating pizza. He asks me “watch you doing?” “Killing time”, I told him. He responded, “ok” then he ran back to his family and his pizza. Left the bar to pick up my wife. She was at a coffee house attending a meeting. I walk to the coffeehouse and order peppermint tea.

8pm voting polls close on the East coast and the first election results are in.

11:01 pm Barack Hussein Obama is our new president elect. “We the People”, the ancestors of the founding fathers of the constitution chose hope and change for our country. It feels good. The world must be ok.

11:30 pm I check on our sleeping daughter; so cute. She rocks herself gently from shoulder to shoulder when she is sleeping and wiggles her bum sometimes. I smile and try not to giggle aloud. I stand over her crib and I think about how she will never have to understand that the world she fell asleep in is not the world she will awake to. The world has lost enough, for this brief moment the veil has been lifted.

6am Wednesday the 5th woke to a new world. The TV reports that the world likes us again, even the French. The planet celebrates the U.S. president elect. Russia moves their military forces towards Poland. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev delivered an aggressive speech against the US.

12 noon, lunchtime, decide to listen to conservative Rush Limbaugh right wing radio (the day after the election) for the first time. I thought it would be fun. I read The New York Times, The Economist, I listen to independent local radio and I am a fan of Al Gore. Basically I am the poster boy for all things tagged liberal fascist. Personally I always thought of myself as a conservative in lifestyle and liberal in my judgment towards others. I pay my taxes and if you want to marry a man, woman, dog or tree I do not care. Truth be told, I care if it is my dog but that’s it. After taking in some of their views you can call me a tree hugging liberal fascist. Upon my death I will stand in front of my God and let her/him/it judge me. Rush Limbaugh is loud and angry – we’re a socialist country now, shouts through my speakers. It amazes me how devoted his audience is when his job title is “On Air Personality”. Journalism is dead and we can’t even blame Rupert Murdock.

3pm listened to the Sean Hannity conservative right wing radio show. Hannity is hoping for the resurrection of Ronald Regan. Based on how the world has treated the teachings of the last successful resurrection I hope Regan stays dead; let him go the way of Buddha, his teachings have not been as badly distorted. This is what I learned from a couple of hours of conservative “entertainment” radio – if you want to be a Christian Cowboy listen in. The world must be ok.

8pm attended a lecture at Heinz Hall in downtown Pittsburgh with my father. Not sure why I always refer to Pittsburgh as downtown. The lecture is given by Paul Rusesabagina, the humanitarian of Hotel Rwanda. 6am I awoke to hope, 8pm I am listening to a talk about the genocide of Rwanda, Africa. I sit and take note of the living history in the flesh standing in front of me talking about the power of words and peaceful dialogue (to understand Hotel Rwanda read this…).

Rusesabagina talks about disturbing observers; people who only scrutinize the events but cause no change. Media, United Nations, Foreign Governments; none of them are peacekeepers or peacemakers. The phrase “never again” becomes again and again and again throughout history. In our current time we had the Holocaust of the Jewish people in Germany, the genocide of Rwanda and Darfur in Africa.

10:30 pm Walk out of the lecture hall never more aware of the birthright I have due to the soil I was born upon. Citizen responsibility towards a global perspective on civility, equality and human rights needs to be held by all.

11:30 pm flipping through late night news I hear the blurb “there is no more right wing politics, there is no more left wing politics, there is only forward or backward politics.” I like that.

1pm Thursday 6th I start writing this

3pm I complete writing: the world must be ok.