Today, I am experiencing the oddest sensation. I can feel my mind, body, heart, and soul remembering the feelings and thoughts I had so many many years ago, when I was younger and much dumber. I am feeling the sensations of the day when Arafat and Rabin made history and shook hands, at the behest of President Clinton, and I thought, believed, felt, and hoped that things would be right with the world from that day forward.
It’s impossible for me to describe that sensation of hope. I remember my mind looking into the future, and thinking that there was nowhere for the Palestinians to go but up (sadistically naive, wouldn’t you say?). I remember looking forward to seeing the picture of that event in the newspaper the next day, and my mind not believing what my eyes were seeing. I remember my body racing downstairs to turn on the radio really loud, so that we could hear the commentary that came with that handshake in every corner of our house (we were not a TV-owning family, until very recently). I remember my heart feeling amazed and grateful that on the heels of the Gulf War, here we had a President who was trying to build a bridge, rather than bombing one. It was my soul taking flight in a feverish fit of fantasy.
I recall that feeling, and I at once am thankful and resentful of that feeling. I know that this nostalgia is directly because of seeing President Clinton for a brief 20 minutes last night. But the hope I, and millions more, had on that day lies shattered on seeing images of suffering Gazans. How long will the glimmer of hope last for those who whole-heartedly support Senator Obama? Will they remember this wonderful feeling, and will they be rewarded for it? The irony of it all is that the things I never thought to have hope in (a better economy, a sense of security while being a Muslim American, etc.) are the things that materialized, and are now aspects of life that we can only dream of. We have as a nation taken many steps back, and I don’t dare hope that we begin to take steps forward. For me, personally, I am amazed as an American to see a major political party nominate a man of color, with deep immigrant roots, for the Presidency. The cynic in me doesn’t foresee change…but the child in me jumps for joy at this visible change.
I hope that things change. But I learned so long ago that hope in events beyond my control is useless. Yet, I am still capable of hope, hope that our amazing America finds a new way before its too late. It’s going to take more than hope. It’s going to take a divine miracle.