I got locked out of a parking garage after hours the other day. Melissa and I had to go down the block to find a cashier at a neighboring garage who could give us the key to get out. The guy was reading Dreams from My Father. He spoke in accented English. If I had to guess, given Seattle’s ethnic makeup, I’d say he was from Ethiopia.
I commented on the book. He said nothing, but he got a big smile on his face.
At the risk of sounding puerile, I keep thinking about what this time we’re in must mean to a guy in his situation. A great promise is on the verge of deliverance — one that few expected to see in their lifetime.
After so many years of lowered expectations and reinforced cynicism, it’s a humbling reminder of what’s possible.
And after so many months of reducing the significance of this candidacy and this candidate, here we are.
Step back. Take it in.
As for what it means to me: I believe it forwards the central narrative of this country as much as anything in my lifetime. It brings our best and worst qualities to the surface, forcing us to examine. It speaks to the very first words ever written to define us and what separates us from all that came before. It takes a half-truth; that we believe ourselves equal to one another, and renders it, at the very least, three-quarters true.
I’m nervous about what’ll happen tomorrow, but very hopeful. As a traveler, I’m looking forward to identifying my nationality without feeling like I should apologize for it. As a citizen, I’m looking forward to a renewal — even a fleeting one — of this bruised and battered system.