Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Anniversaries, The Certain & The Hoped For: Remembering the Barack Obama Block Party

A little over a year ago today, America cast ballots in one of the most significant elections in the history of our nation.

(No, I didn't steal that from a corny late-night television documentary. And anyway, you can't prove I did.)

Last year this time, the country was tingling with the heady reality of the election of now President Barack Obama. In that moment, we probably became more America than we'd ever been. I don't argue this because I believe Obama's win was necessarily a moment of dream-fulfillment for all Americans.

I say this because the election of President Obama literally propelled us into a truer identity, and a new political, societal, racial, and communal place all at once. A year later, few of us can ignore that fact that our identity as a nation, and as a complex group of disparate cultures, beliefs, and hopes - has been sharpened.

We all got a bit of magnification job. It's impossible not to see ourselves now, though that hasn't stopped some of us from trying - bless our hearts. To be fair, I don't think you can blame us. Some of that stuff is just plain ugly, and, at the least, embarrassing.

There's been a lot of talk about the anniversary of Obama's election, and certainly about what can be assessed about his performance at the early stage in the game.

(In this post, I'm joining in by remembering my documentary and magazine podcast project, the Barack Obama Block Party.)

Of course - lately, there's been a great deal of talk about anniversaries generally.

The media's been abuzz about the remembrances of historical moments that "changed America", "changed Germany", or "changed the world". I'm not immune. I'm sure that my forthcoming postings will reflect this bout of nostalgia present in the media and lingering around our water coolers.

Anniversaries offer interesting space for reflection. After all - not every anniversary inspires celebration. Some can only be "commemorated", and others we'd rather forget. Too, there are those remembered dates that force us to do the uncomfortable work of accounting.

I think we're experiencing each of those possibilities right now.

But rather than to plow in at this moment - I'm going to invite you to take a look back.

Last year I took on a project I called the Barack Obama Block Party. I wanted to take a snapshot in time and capture a moment unlike any other in American history: Pre-teens getting out the vote, centenarians at the ballot box, revelers dancing in city streets throughout the world. I wanted to ensure that we held the vision of the euphoria of community feeling, unity, and free expression before it slipped away.

Hell - I wanted to issue a challenge. Something like "Yeah, we're excited. But seriously, don't fall off."

A year later, I've decided to take on a monthly podcast magazine project. More on that in future. Today, I'm reflecting.

Visit the podcast. Remember. Share. We're in the midst of an anniversary, after all.

The hard stuff's coming. But not today.

...Well, not here at least.

Image Credit: Dean Russo

No comments: