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It’s been eight years since the Tom Joyner Morning Show, family members and I were in Chicago at Grant Park for one of the most significant events in history.

We were surrounded by politicians, media and civil rights icons, and even though we were hoping and praying for a victory that night, we were almost afraid to believe it could and would happen. And when it idid there is no one word to describe how we felt. It was a combination of pride,exhilaration, amazement, & joy…you just had to hug who ever was standing next you whether you knew them or not.

When the President-elect Barack Obama, Mrs. Obama, Sasha and Malia – the First Family walked across the stage, it was a moment you wanted to freeze iso that you could aways remember it as clearly as you could that night.

Technology wasn’t what it is today and so, instead of standing there watching it through our smartphone screens the way we’ve come accustomed to experiencing every magnificent moment, we stood there watching it with our eyes relying on our memories to play it back a thousand times in our heads.

No matter what happens tonight, for me, it won’t compare to 2008, but as so many people have pointed out, this election is even more important. In 2008 we had a lot to gain, but in this election in 2016, we have a lot to lose…more than most of us may care to process.

This election isn’t a matter of being stuck with another Republican whose policies and basic ideology differ from ours. This is a matter of being stuck with a man who has absolutely no business being considered to be a presidential candidate let alone become the President. He’s used fear, hatred, racism and ignorance to find himself in a heated battle with a qualified, intelligent, competent, proven leader who has been a Senator, Secretary of State and a First Lady.

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People like Roland Martin told us months ago that it would never get this far and pointed to Herman Caine as an example. Trump’s “success” says more about America than it says about the candidate. A robot using the hate words that resonated with an angry America could have won the Republican nomination.

If President Obama had not been elected for two terms, the people who are supporting Donald Trump probably would not have worked themselves up into this frenzy, but many…or I will even go so far as to say, most of them want the polar opposite of President Obama.

They have chosen a person who will erase any trace of what happened the day America failed them eight years ago. Our greatest day was their worst nightmare. They find not one shred of good in what President Obama has accomplished and blame him for everything that’s gone wrong. They’re not being rational and even though Trump’s lewd, insulting, and in some cases, criminal behavior has virtually alienated him from his own party, they don’t care.

It started with crazies but then just plain ol’ ordinary white Americans who hate Hillary more than they love this country, are supporting Trump.

This campaign has been so divisive it’s pitted families against families church members against church members and Facebook friends against Facebook friends.

I’m writing this before the election results have come in but I’m convinced that our country is better than what we’ve seen since Donald Trump became a presidential candidate.

If I’m right, Hillary will be President-elect by the time most of you will read this. And even though it will be a time to celebrate, it’s more like a time to just exhale. I feel like I do after riding a terrifying roller coaster. Shaken up and relieved that is over.

The thing about a roller coaster ride though, is that it’s meant to scare us for our own amusement.

There’s nothing amusing about what we’ve gone through. We Black Americans need to stop playing with our power. If this election didn’t scare us straight, it should have.

We need to register and vote. We need to back candidates that have our best interests in mind because they respect our power and know that they cannot and will not win without us.

We did Hillary Clinton a solid by rallying around her without really asking for very much. We knew without a doubt that she was a better choice than Trump, but when are we going to really exercise our power starting with local elections and moving up? We’ve been doing this too long and Rep. John Lewis, Rev.Jesse Jackson Jr. and the icons of the 60’s won’t always be around to remind us of what we have to lose.

Millennials need to step up and take this thing seriously, especially African-Americans.

Whatever Bernie Sanders’ appeal was, even he voted for Hillary. That’s the way it’s done, and if you have a better way, I’d like to hear about it.

If a third party is what you want, then it can’t be with a candidate who can’t win. That wastes lots of time and money and here we are. Thanks, Bernie. We watched four major debates with the issues of police brutality and gun violence in our communities mentioned but with no real solutions offered.

If I’m right about tonight, Thank God we’ve escaped a disaster. When our heads stop hurting and our legs stop wobbling, I hope we won’t get back on the same ride. Let’s get our minds right and make sure we make solid, mature decisions that make sense to our future and the future of our children and grandchildren.

If I’m wrong, then buckle up. It’s going to get rough.

Thank you Roland Martin, Don Lemon, Shaun King, Joy Reid, April Ryan, Donna Brazile, Jacque Reid, Rep. John Lewis, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sheryl Underwood, Ambassador Andrew Young, Hillary Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, Ken Smuckler, Cornell Belcher, Erika Alexander, Jesse Williams, GK Butterfield, Dr. William Barber, Sen. Tim Kaine, Chris Matthews, Mellody Hobson, Hill Harper, Melanie Campbell, Kristin Clarke…there’s no way I can name all the guests who have contributed this election season, but this is a good start.

And thank you most to the Big Chief and family for raising the bar for every Black man, woman and child in this nation and changing the way others see us and the way we see ourselves.

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Because of you, we are more empowered, more involved and more engaged in the political process than we’ve been in decades.Thanks for opening your home to people who never dreamed they would be welcome and thanks for the careers you’ve boosted for a host of political commentators and analysts that were asked to the table because of you.

Here’s to moving forward and continuing your legacy!

God bless you.

-Tom

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Decision 2016: Why I Hope Hillary Wins And Thank President Obama was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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