Wednesday, June 04, 2008

When history arrives

There are times in our lives when something happens that’s so big, so important that we know it will long have a place in history. Sometimes those events are instant, sometimes they take awhile. Today we arrived, finally, at such a moment.

Today Barack Obama secured enough delegates to become the Democractic Nominee for President of the United States. Nothing in America will ever be the same.

There was a time when it was thought to be impossible for an African American to be a presidential nominee of a major party, but to me there’s something even more: I’m old enough to remember when mixed-race couples, white and black, would get stares or worse, even in my relatively modern home state of Illinois. So to see a man who is both African American and the son of a mixed-race marriage become the Democratic nominee strikes me as a singularly redemptive moment for America.

There’s much about America that’s made up of unfinished business from the past. The legacy of slavery and racism led many to believe true equality was impossible. One man who didn’t buy into that pessimism was Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. On August 28, 1963, he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and declared, “I Have A Dream”.

Forty-five years later to the very day, Barack Obama will stand at the podium of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, and accept the nomination of the Democratic Party to be their candidate for President. Dreams, however long deferred, can still come true.

But this is more than just an historic event for one party or one candidate. America has long preached the possibility that anyone can achieve to the limits of their abilities and energies. Too often, that promise was false. But this year there was the reality that the Democratic Party would nominate either the first African American or the first woman to be the candidate of a major party.

Forget about how long this took, forget about how unlikely it was that the other major party could achieve this. Instead, I’d rather focus on the positive message that today brings. I’d rather feel the historic importance and the renewed hope that maybe, just maybe, America may yet live up to its promise. There are, after all, more dreams unfulfilled.


Nik said...

I agree, the media has been so consumed by the small squabbles that the sheer hugeness of this moment has really been overlooked, it would have been unimaginable even 30 years ago and it's still pretty stunning now. He won't be perfect and he'll make mistakes, but y'know, I might just be proud of the U.S. leaders again for the first time in a good while if he wins.

d said...

And yet, Hillary is not conceding....?