|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.
The Numinosum Blog
One year ago, on November 4th, 2008, was the historical election that seemed to bring in that air from another planet. Even though there were no students that day, we still had to be at school for professional development. On my way to work you knew something was different about this election as people were lining up around schools and churches to vote. About 8:30 am that morning as I arrived to the work, there was a long line of people down the block, snaking around my own school and filing inside in order to vote. There were smiles and happiness of purpose on the faces; an anticipation of something happening (or about to happen) and that they were part of it. Of course this being Park Slope there weren't many brown and black faces, but there were some in that line. But what I loved seeing were parents who brought their kids to the voting booth. To give the young that experience which hopefully will carry over to their adulthood was very heartwarming. There was such a palatable excitement, I felt that people finally were fulfilling the "promise of America" that author Harvey Kaye wrote about in his exciting book on Thomas Paine (that book is one of the influences to my upcoming dance project). Not that America is perfect but it is the potential of America, as an idea, as an ideal, to be so much more than those countries of history with their kleptocratic, monarchical, dictatorial, plutocractic, and culocratic ways; that the people are the government and could be in charge of themselves seemed such a radical, revolutionary concept (reading about the history of the American Revolution, it is even more amazing that things could have turned out so differently for America). And despite the many assaults and challenges over our history that promise, sometimes bruised and shaky, is amazingly STILL there.
Of course the solutions to our country's many problems aren't easy. They never were and never will be. And with all of the noise of anger and frustration out there that things are moving too fast or too slow or too much or too little, the answers will be even harder to find and agree to. Whether you are black, white, Democrat or Republican, agree with the economic bailouts and the war or not, for big government or little, love FOX or love MSNBC, or somewhere in the middle, last year's election meant something greater than just the election of the first (half) black President (and with the racial history of this country that election DOES mean a lot). Rather it was because people actually seemed to CARE about the future of the country and more importantly, DID something about it.
Just after the election last year my wife heard on our Brooklyn street a conversation of two young African-American men walking down the sidewalk. Both were talking about the election results and were obviously excited. She overheard one say to the other something like, "well now I need to pull my pants up." I think if last year's election can help one young man realize that falling pants is not cultural statement, then something magical happened last year and no matter your political persuasion or affiliation, we should all celebrate that.
POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 8:00 AM
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.