The Dome Is Mine

By Tammy Johnson Jan 20, 2009

It happens to all of us eventually. One day you squint at yourself in the mirror and say, "You look different somehow." There’s a sprig of grey at your temple, an outlined smile and glimmer of knowing in your eye. It’s a transformational moment that gives you pause. But if you are lucky, you embrace those changes and even come to think of them as cool. I had that same feeling today while staring at the Capitol dome in Washington, DC. I am one of thousands of activists who had come to DC to petition my government many times over the years. And to me, that dome had come to represent an impenetrable domain that benefited a privileged few. But standing there today I felt something different. After four days of being surrounded by jovial crowds of Obama well wishers, I was forced to tuck away my cynicism and think about a dormant truth. This is our country. It’s the country of the around-the-way brother, the barrio Senorita, the Little China town store-front owner, the no-reservation urban Indian and the one-foot-in-Hometown-USA-and-the-other-in-the-homeland-elsewhere-peeps who populate this nation from Oaktown, California to Boogie-Down Bronx. And yes, hell yes, it’s mine too. We, as a people, have accomplished so much. We have a right to claim this land as ours. We should own our victories and acknowledge that it is our work that has paved the way for Black man to become the 44th President of the United States. This is our victory to embrace and to build upon. Today, I looked at that dome’s glimmering roundness and said with great pride, "That’s mine. Ain’t it cool?"