"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'" - August 28, 1963. Location: Steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Speaker: Dr. Martin Luther King.
I was born in 1959 and raised in Texas. While not the deep South, our attitudes on race, culture and politics were close cousins of Alabama and Mississippi. I grew up in a culture of intolerance and prejudice. I heard not only were blacks less capable than whites, Mexicans, or rather the favored pejorative "wetbacks" weren't worth much consideration either.
Fortunately, and I owe this to my parents, racism and prejudice were not tolerated in my home. As devout Christians, my parents never allowed my brother or I to think less of someone because of their skin color. It was a lesson and principle that I honor them for.
I write this because it has been within my life-time that lynchings have occurred. I write this beause it has been within my life-time that blacks were not allowed to use the same toilets as I or eat in the same restaurants as me and my parents. I write this because last night we have seen a historic turn in the tide and cycle of the American experience and I believe we are moving ever closer to Dr. King's words at the head of this post.
During my life-time, several historic events have occurred. Some, like the Apollo program that landed a man on the moon in 1969 were almost miraculous. I truly believe that if Barack Obama wins the presidency in November of this year, that event will be very close to the top of the list.
The race for the nomination has been clouded by pundits, endless noise and more 24x7 cable shows than we can count and most of them have been focused on the sound-bite, the pastor issues, the "Obama/Osama" issue, the "Is he Muslim or is he Christian?" nonsense.
People, think hard for a minute. Not only has this man effectively captured the nomination of the Democratic Party to be president after only serving in the US Senate for 1 term. Not only has he done so at the tender age of 46 (Only, JFK and Bill Clinton, U.S. Grant were nominated at such young ages). He is black. Well, he is of mixed race, but by and large he is considered the first African American to have gotten to this point. I can't say he has won the nomination, because first of all, Senator Clinton has not conceded and who the hell knows what might happen between now and the nominating convention in August. However, for all intents and purposes, Barack Obama will be the candidate of the Democrats running against Senator John McCain. This is a monumental moment in the short history of the United States. It is a remarkable turn of events for our nation and it truly gives me hope that America will be brought closer together as a result of this (as Lincoln said) "by the better Angels of our nature".
Bravo Senator Obama, Dr. King would be very proud of this moment. I know I am.
Tell me what you think,