Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

So many people have said "not in my lifetime" when asked the question of whether or not they thought they would ever see the day when a black person became POTUS. I was among them, comfortable in my sense that this country wouldn't do anything of the sort, but hopeful that someday, long after I'd gone, that perhaps....

Though I was not on the Mall today, I am in Washington, DC, and over the course of this weekend, I have been amazed by the sense of joy that has permeated the city. Even the presence of Rick Warren on the podium today has not diminshed for me the beauty of this moment. I live in a different nation now. I live in a nation that indeed is a land of genuine opportunity for anyone who seeks it. As much as I have loved my country, that love has grown. My sense of connection to this place where my foreparents (the black ones anyway) were slaves is deeper now.

I can only imagine the ghosts of the those black folks who helped to build the majestic symbolic buildings of this city rejoicing in the beauty of this day, knowing that their struggles were not in vain. And I hope that the newest generation of black folks will look to the Obama family as role models to emulate, not some random pop figure of the moment. I want this moment to be a clarion call for black folks in this nation, a call to be our better selves, a call to reach back to the sensabilities of the generations before us who endured real hardships and move forward as fully vested members of the American community.

It's all just so amazing right now, and the tears are coming again.

2 comments:

Miriam said...

You know what makes it *even* better: He is left-handed. I love that. ;)

It is definitely a new country and Jeffrey, it IS in OUR Lifetime. The better part of history starts now.

Chris said...

Maybe a commentary on how far we have come is the reaction of two younger black children with whom I am acquainted. My wife's VP at work is a black man, and his kids, early teens, have not experienced the racism that earlier generations could not escape. Their reaction is surprise at how big a deal the rest of us think this is...
We ain't done, but we have made progress.