Watching the World Wake Up from History

Here’s another example of the psychological force of an Obama victory:

I talked with my Dad, Glenn, on the phone tonight for quite awhile. We have a lot in common lately, besides just the genes and all. He and I are both living in apartments by ourselves after longterm co-habitive relationships. And oddly enough, we’re both looking forward to the Obama presidency. I was shocked!

My Dad has previously been known to me in some respects as a very racist man, a good man, but the issue of race runs inside of him so deeply. He grew up in the foothills of the Ohio Appalachians, son of the authoritarian Pike County Sheriff and a amazingly lovely woman who died of colon cancer at the tender age of 36 sending his 15 year-old life into a violent whirlwind.

There is so much more to say regarding my father’s childhood, but for now it is important to note the role that racism plays in the Appalachian upbringing. The word nigger is thrown around without a second thought. I grew up much of my life in lower-end mixed race neighborhoods where the charged atmosphere of that word rang from him into me and out with me into the world. I instinctively knew that racism of that sort is wrong, and I fought against it every step, but it’s impossible not to absorb elements of your home life into yourself in one way or another. My own problems in dealing with race have led me into embarrassing misstatements, arguments, and actual fistfights, all of which are unique stories themselves and ones I will share at various points. But this moment is for something a little different: the paradigm shift in my father’s world.

Robert Glenn Snively, Sr., my somewhat racist father, has gone from verbally hatin’ on niggers to being proud that America elected Barack Obama. Some of this has been expected. My Dad has always been a deep-down good-hearted and complex individual. When I was growing up he could turn on a dime from racial tirades to rationalizing his relationship with one of his good black friends, Willy, or telling me about his army days in Germany where he lived in a ten-man bay with nine black men he considered his brothers. So yeah, some of it is not a surprise, but mostly it just blows my mind.

Dad came out to visit me in early June this year and was lamenting Hillary’s defeat because he couldn’t fathom the idea of a black president, “I never thought I would live to see the day.” But now, with this election, there has been a sea change in him. He likes Barack Obama and he expects good things from him.

2008 has certainly been a season of change.

I love you Dad. Here’s the perfect appendix, The Cobalt Season w/”Careful Not to Draw Your Maps in Pen & Ink”:

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