06 November 2008


Last night was my first "real" concert with the new choir. We sang "Cançó d'amor i de guerra" (Song of Love and War), a rollicking zarzuela, full of triumphalist full-throated choruses that end with happy emphatic crashes of cymbals. Which fit my mood rather well after the election.

In fact, the best part of arriving at the auditorium dressing room last night was that one by one, many of my fellow singers (many of whom I still don't know) came up to me and solemnly, admiringly, shook my hand or kissed me on the cheek. There was a deep contentedness in those sturdy handshakes. It caught me by surprise at first, but of course: I was likely the only American they had seen that day. I felt like a celebrity, just by virtue of being l'americana, and believe me, this is the first time while in Europe I have ever felt so... admired for being American. I told them all I was so proud of my country.

Take a look at these reactions from around the world. It captures a bit of that good feeling.

And now for a couple of tangents, one a gush and one a dash of realism:

Isn't Michelle Obama just fabulous? I have a feeling that she is going to rock as first lady.

Also, Obama's election is a huge huge huge step for a country whose legacy is one of systemic racial hatred, violence, and discrimination. It really is an American dream come true. But some commentators are acting as though all of the sudden racism has been defeated for good. Sadly, that's not the case. I'm worried that having a black president could serve as an excuse for the more naive segments of society to say, "See? No racism here. Obama's in the White House. Case closed." And then shut their eyes to their own behavior or injustices around them. Obama might be kind of like the Cliff Huxtable of today, the friendly black guy who makes white people think they're "totally fine" with black people and that his success story is proof that racism doesn't exist.

(Yet: I am thankful things are changing.)

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