Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Land of the free

Today in class, as we discussed the election going on around us, I tried to tell my freshman how they'd see red and blue and crazy whiteboard technology tonight and the meaning of the number 270. I could tell they were processing it, and trying to soak it all in. And one of my students--a girl who moved here from another country--raised her hand. She asked, in a timid but serious voice:

"But what if the candidate that loses....what if he tries to take over? What if he tries to kill the new President? What happens then?"

My knee-jerk reaction was to laugh a bit. But then I realized she was serious. Where she moved from, war was a part of life...and still is.

I realized she wasn't kidding or trying to be funny. Because in many places around the world, that could very easily happen. That idea was not funny to her. That was a possible reality.

I quickly wiped the smile off my face and said, "You know, _______, we're very lucky that we don't have to really worry about that here." I gave her a few examples when the elections were very close or contested, and in each case, the candidates stepped down and pledged support to the winner.

I'm sitting here listening to a very classy, thoughtful, sincere concession speech from a tremendous American hero. And make no mistake--I am very happy about tonight's results--but I am more happy, and proud, and tearful, even, that I live in a country where peace is the norm. Where we don't have to worry if our election results will lead to bloodshed. Where the losing candidate pledges and urges support for his new President...and where something that seemed inconceivable forty years ago happened during my lifetime.

6 comments:

Borsch said...

I'm uber glad as well that the losing candidate knows it is for the greater good to endorse the other party.

I wish we just didn't have to cut eachothers throats to get to that point.

Maggs said...

I agree. today is a great day to be an American. Regardless of what the outcome was it would have been a great day. Of course, I'm happier it's the outcome it is.

Mike said...

Very nice blog! It makes you think sometimes what being an American really is!

Carolina John said...

nice post! it's so interesting to hear another perspective from your student. I'm super glad obama took it, but i think if mccain's campaign speeches would have been as eloquent and cleanly delivered as his consessment speech he might have done a little better.

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice!

I'm with you - good outcome, and nice speech by McCain!!

triguyjt said...

great post sara.....

what I loved was how so many young people got energized by the opportunity to make their vote count....