Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Momentous Evening

The first day of a new era.  I'm not going to wax poetic about Barack Obama and gush over him like so many of my friends.  The man has flaws, and he is going to have a trying presidency.  Given the way the world is now we will almost assuredly have moments where we are reminded that, no, he is not the Messiah.  Of course, we all know this.  Almost half of this country did not think he was ready to be president, whether because of his perceived lack of experience, his ethnicity, his family background, or simply because he is a(as Time put it so eloquently) "giant-eared nerd."  We must also remember that more than half of the country did vote for Obama.  We can't know why, again perhaps race played a role.  Perhaps age (and I will be the first to admit that Democrats, we of the biggest tent, have been guilty of gross agism during this election) played a factor.  Perhaps it was just a statement that things need to change in America.  Whatever the reason, we must acknowledge that something powerful happened in America here at the end of 2008.  During the doom and gloom of financial meltdown, during a time when most of the world questioned what it was that made the US so great, we overcame our greatest national shame and simply went out and voted.  That's right, our national shame.  Whatever side of the aisle you occupy,  you must acknowledge that your party did something great during this election.  A woman's name appeared in the Vice President slot on a major political party.  An African-American's name sat at the top of the ticket for a major political party.  This is something to be proud of, no matter which way the election went we were about to have someone in the oval-office (or a heartbeat away) that was at one time in this country's history not even considered a citizen.  Take a minute to let that sit in.  You and I both know someone that remembers a time in this country when the black man was forced to sit at the back of the bus, to use a different bathroom.  The only way a black man would ever see the oval-office in their mind's eye would be holding a trash can or a broom.  Women too should not forget the significance of Mrs. Palin's candidacy.  You almost surely know someone who was alive when women were not allowed to vote in this country.  Can you even imagine?  As my wife and I sat in tears last night watching the thousands of black, brown, and white people cheering for joy around the world; hearing the stories of African-Americans whose tears were not so much for themselves but for grandmothers, parents, sisters who were not still alive to see something like this happen in America.  Yes, despite the collapse of the US financial system we see what it truly is that makes this country great.  Not because of what we have done, others have elected people with more of a minority status, but because of where we came from.  This country was founded on principles of freedom and democracy but built on the backs of our brothers and sisters who had no rights, no way to even begin to understand what freedom meant.  Whomever you voted for, please try and take a minute and thank God that we have made a public statement of global proportions and be very, very proud to be an American.


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