antonia-williams-gary_2_web.jpgHallelujah, I’m in love again!  And so is 50 percent of the country. Now that we have re-elected Barack Obama, the world is still turning, and we are faced with all the same issues that were here on Nov. 5, but we have a known factor at the helm and that bodes well for me.

That resolved, it leaves me time to think about so many other things to close out the year and open up new horizons into the next.

For instance, I have been thinking a lot about the new book about Miami by Tom Wolfe, Back to Blood. As you read this, Wolfe will have appeared at the first Evenings With at the Miami Book Fair International.

Back to Blood paints an over-the-top picture of everything wrong about Miami — ethnic and racial tensions, excesses in every human appetite, showy wealth, over-the-top sexual escapades, etc.

It is a good romp of a read and well worth the dime and time it takes to get through the 400-plus pages.  Of note, because Wolfe is just an observer and reporter on social mores, he offers no solutions to what ails us as a community. And that brings me back to the elections. 

The pundits now have at least a year’s worth of material left over from that clear demonstration of the great divides in the country: blue states on the edges, red states in the middle and other demographic fault lines along lifestyle choices (same-sex marriages, legalization of marijuana, women’s reproductive issues, etc.), financial divides (47 “percenters,” 1 “percenters,” the billionaires, etc.), renewed discussions about the military profile — the list goes on. In a column earlier this year, I speculated about why anyone would want to be the leader of this county, presumably the leading nation in the world (as we know it). 

I wondered on another occasion about the image of the president: a black man strapped with drones and other weapons and not a peace wand.

On yet another occasion, I speculated that Barack Obama was most suited for the position after all.

Then they showed him actually crying before his volunteers after winning re-election, showing himself as a human being who could be vulnerable to the all-too-human nature of us all — humble, yes; grateful, no doubt — and one who feels and gives love in the greatest sense of the word, indeed.

I recall that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Obama, prematurely and then I remember also that the challenge of that gesture was one that Obama has been trying to fulfill: to earn the merits of the award while on the job — unprecedented in the history of the prize but admittedly a brilliant strategy.

Kudos to Barack Obama for all that he has done, for all that he is meant to do over the next four years, and to all who actually voted for him.  I am relieved.

Now what about the tomorrows ahead? The year will close out in the usual fashion and, in my world, I look forward to enjoying the Miami Book Fair International, Thanksgiving, Art Basel, Christmas, Kwanzaa, not-quite New Year’s Eve parties, in that order.

And to get through the close out, I have a few observations and recommendations for all of you. Regarding the book fair: Despite, and because of, the Back to Blood novel,

Miami will stay in the minds and hearts and on the lips of readers around the world.  Get the book, read it, be in on the talk of the in-crowd, join a reading group and come up with your own solutions to living here.

Regarding Thanksgiving: You know you must be grateful for something. Count the many ways and let the turkey live. You may want to start eating healthier — now. Regarding Art Basel: This is an annual event that I have written about for the past two years.

Look for yourself in the many images that will be on display. Seek out the black art fairs (Art Africa), galleries (N’Nandi in Wynwood), artist groups (Kumba) etc.

Regarding Christmas and Kwanzaa: Find someone less fortunate than you. Choose a cause-related group to give to. Volunteer in a soup kitchen. It will make you feel good. Regarding not-quite New Year’s Eve parties: I think it’s time to do it again.

Hallelujah, I’m in love again!  Time to start cooking and baking.

Antonia Williams-Gary may be reached at