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Zen Cupcake Obama Moment: Making History

November 5, 2008

Live video by Ustream

President Elect Barack H. Obama’s Victory Speech

Election 2008 is over.
We have a new President Elect, Barack H. Obama.
I’m no pundit. I ve never been politically active.
Nonetheless, I was determined to cast my vote for Obama.
I wanted to play a role in a history making election.
Watching Obama’s victory speech last night made me
reflect about change and how far we have come. It’s unbelievable
that a man of color has been elected President. The 2008 election
truly is a historical moment.

I was raised in one of the most populous cities on the East Coast.
Brown v Board of Education resulted in a landmark ruling by the
United States Supreme Court. Racial segregation was declared
unconstitutional. Despite a ruling from the highest court in the land,
change didn’t happen over night. It took almost a decade to
implement the new public policy. Despite the court’s
mandate, the public’s reaction to bussing was met with aggressive
resistance, fear and legal challenge. Ten years would pass before I saw
a child of color enter my formerly all white school.

The year before bussing began in my elementary school,
Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his stirring speech
I Have a Dream.” It was powerful and hopeful. Four years
later, Dr. King’s life would be cut short, but his dream lived on.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a
nation where they will
not be judged by the color of their
skin but by the content of their character.

Within days after the first “colored” child crossed the threshold
of my school,
For Sale signs popped up all over the neighborhood,
triggering the start of white flight to the suburbs. Dr. King’s prescient
words are proof that dreams can come true, albeit not overnight.
It would be 45 years before Dr. King’s immortal words would be realized.
Last night the dream finally came true.

The Los Angeles Times, described how a 114-year old
woman, the daughter of former slaves, cast her vote for Obama.
Growing up in the Deep South she lived through an era when
blacks were prevented from voting and faced rampant and
violent racism. During her lifetime she watched women fight
for their right to vote. As she grew old she was an observer
to the racial injustices that sparked the change in our country
that gave rise to civil rights movement. Yesterday, she
played a role in the history making election.

Illustration courtesy of Patrick Moberg

On November 4, 2008, the first African-American man in our
country’s history was elected to the most powerful position in
the world. Barack Obama became the 44th President of the
United States of America. A record number of voters played a
role in this history making event. The voter turnout was the
highest in almost 100 years. A historical moment, indeed.

Election 2008 was democracy in action. The American people
didn’t make race an issue. The American people chose their
next leader based on his character. The status quo has been
changed forever. As President Elect Obama said so eloquently,
“Anything is possible.”

I was awake most of the night on the phone with an ex-pat friend
and family members who live overseas. The world’s immediate
reaction to Obama’s election was positive and optimistic. Americans
are no longer openly despised by Europeans. As one family member
said, “Speaking the name ‘Bush’ outloud evoked a visceral reaction
of hatred…as if one was talking about Hitler.” Obama’s victory has
created a sense of global unity. There is an air of hope in the air.

Is the world holding hands and singing “Kumbaya.”Has Obama’s
election extinguished all prejudice and hate? Of course not.
An assassination plot against Obama was uncovered last week.
Proposition 8, which would ban Gay marriage is, sadly,
likely to prevail. But, the fight will go on until every barrier to
marriage equality is shattered. For now, the excitement of
Obama’s victory remains overwhelming. “Yes We Can.”
In the company of friends and loved ones, I watched the votes being
tallied. I brought cupcakes from Susie’s Cakes in Newport Beach
and French’s Cupcakes in Costa Mesa to share while we
waited for the results. My Obama cupcake is in freezer,
like a piece of wedding cake. A year from now, it’ll bring
back the memory of this historic phenomenon. In the
meantime, the election has ended. It’s time to move forward.

Related Posts:
Round Up on all Zen Cupcake Obama Inauguration Posts here.
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