Monday, November 3, 2008

What if Obama loses?

What if Obama loses?

Last night traudi and I went for a walk in Oak Park, IL where we live and almost every home had multiple Obama signs. If Oak Park is along with the Senator's own Hyde Park the Obama heartland. Our area is 35% African American, we are also a neighborhood filled with Chicago White Ethnics, Fauxemian liberals and Cosby Show blacks. Oak Park is a place that those like Sarah Palin views not a Real America.

We in Oak Park do not live in the 'real america'.

It is ironic we live in Open America because we live less than a mile from what was once ground zero between Real America and Open America; Cicero, Illinois (the hometown of Al Capone). In 1967, the year of my birth, the Italian, Bohemian and Polish whites of Cicero stoned Martin Luther King as he marched for Open housing. That was 41 years ago. Cicero also welcomed George Wallace, Richard Nixon and many others it was the home of the angry white ethnic urban backlash. Within a block of my house are areas denuded of people from White Flight in the 1960's and 70's. But today all these neighborhoods White, Black and Hispanic are voting for Barack Obama.

What has happened?

Cicero, Today once the city of backlash is multi-ethnic, Hispanic, White Ethnic and Black and in the Illinois Primary in February went 82% for Obama. Can you imagine in 1967 yardsigns with a black man's name in Cicero? Well I am looking at them and believing that Open America can beat Real America. Just maybe?

So now after all the donations, phone banking, and struggle could Barack Obama lose? Well in a word yes he could. The fact is that the America of Barack and Michelle Obama is alien to many but it is the America most of us dwell in today.

Imagine what might happen tomorrow?

Michelle Obama's family is desended from Slaves. Her children are descendants of Slaves. Barack Obama recently at a Chicago restaurant was thrown car keys one of the diners thinking he was the valet. This family will become the first family and make Open America a reality. Dr King's Dream writ large.

Do We live in Open America. Or 'real' America?

There are millions of Americans who view Open America as alien America. The America where Blacks, Hispanics, Euro-Americans, Women, Gay Americans and more meld and build a new place is alien to them. Open America is the future but does that future come tomorrow? I am beside myself with anticipation.

Are we going to let "real America" defeat "open america"?

It is fitting that in the week that Studs Terkel died that another son of Chicago is trying to bring to the fore the Open America. Have we changed enough? Georgia GOP senator Saxby Chambliss sent an email to his supporters telling them "the other folks are voting". The other folks are voting- will this be enough? He was referring to the African Americans in Georgia but he was also referring to me.

In the end it is 24 hours before the first election of the 21st Century or the last of the 20th. It is our choice.

Do we want Open America or Real America?

We can hope...