I can't stand to lose at board games. In fact, I'll usually quit before I do. Ask my husband. As soon as things start going south in Monopoly or Hearts or Gin (even Yahtzee), I start to twitch and whine and negotiate. If he doesn't give me wiggle room score-wise, I give up altogether and concede without finishing out the game. I am the ultimate Sore Loser.
Which is why I was brought to tears last night watching John McCain's most gracious and endearing concession speech. I could take a page from his book the next time I lose Yahtzee.
First he congratulated Obama with genuine admiration: "...his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving."
Then he asked us to unite with his former opponent: "I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together..."
He took accountability: "And though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours."
He went on to call the campaign "the great honor of [his] life" and wished Godspeed to Obama while respectfully and dutifully calling him "my president."
I even caught a glimpse of the POW War Hero as he declared that we "Americans never quit. We never surrender." I almost wanted to salute him right there from my couch .
I am a proud Republican (yes, I said it. Out loud. On my blog. Call the blog-police). But I am an even prouder American. And while I wish we would have gotten to see that great man and hero as our next president, I am equally proud of the history we have made in electing Obama. I was filled with emotion last night as I realized what a giant step this is for African-Americans. How this is their moment. A moment some thought would never--could never-- happen in their lifetime.
Today as I pulled up to Evyn's preschool, one of her teachers, African-American, was chatting excitedly on the phone. "I'll have to call you back in a bit. After class I'm going to pick up the New York Times." She was beaming. I just had to say something (you know me). "Mrs. C, I just wanted to say congratulations. You must be so excited about the history that's been made. I'm really happy for you." She took my congrats with a big grin and "thank you" and told me I was the first person to say that to her. She said she had been up all night, she was so excited. I could actually feel her excitement.
Later I took the girls to the post office and Evyn started chatting up the lady in line behind us, who was gracious enough to entertain Evyn's conversation. She happened to be African American. Evyn expressed her utmost desire to be Cinderella. To which the woman replied with smiling eyes and in a most sincere and deliberate tone, "You can be anything you want to be."
Cinderella herself would agree:
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true
Thanks to the barriers that were broken last night, I can believe that it's possible my girls may someday soon have their own role model in the White House. And that they really can be anything they want to be. Even the President.