Let Today Be For Reflection
Here's a post from the blog of Matthew Good, the musician. I liked and decided to reproduce it here.
What occurred yesterday in the United States will be remembered for centuries to come. The man that stood on that stage in Grant Park in Chicago last night delivered a speech that sent shockwaves of hope from Times Square to Portland, Paris to Tokyo. At sporting events in this country, entire stadiums stood and cheered when the news was announced.
When was the last time you can remember that occurring?
There are naysayers, of course, and there is certainly a long road ahead of President Obama who is inheriting one of the worst Presidential landscapes in American history, but his victory yesterday symbolizes something that was so desperately needed in the United States that it is impossible to ignore. The nation, in the span of a day, went from one of cautious trepidation to one of renewed hope and strengthened belief in itself. Even the staunchest of Republicans are today faced with the reality that the people of the United States did something yesterday that has not occurred often in American history – they voted with their hearts.
As somewhat of a historian, the fact that, in my lifetime, an African American has been elected to the highest office in the United States seems almost a dream. A century ago African Americans faced persecution and intimidation in many parts of the United States if they even attempted to vote. In truth, that reality existed in parts of the country up until the 1960’s. Two hundred years ago, African Americans were largely viewed as property, with most enslaved and living in conditions that we can scarcely imagine possible. And now, in what will be remembered as one of the most historic moments in the nation’s history, an African American has been elected President.
There are those that claim that race should not be a factor, that far too much emphasis has been placed on it, and that it is enough to say that the better candidate won. As an idealist I agree. But as someone that has studied the history of the United States for the better part of twenty five years it is something that cannot be so easily dismissed. In truth, within the context of US history, it is monumental.
While there is no questioning that the majority of African Americans voted for Obama, he would not have secured the victory that he did without considerable and historic support from other ethnicities, predominantly White Americans. And that is something, when placed in historical context, that makes me want to literally get up from this chair and dance around the room. The fact that the people of the United States have elected the first African American President is immensely historic. But what is equally historic is the fact that the American people, no matter their ethnicity, chose a man based on their belief in him, and that race was trumped by that belief. Thus, two occurrences of overwhelmingly historic import occurred in the United States yesterday, producing even more of a reason for jubilation.
Therefore, before the scrutiny begins, let’s take a moment to stop and bask in what has occurred. Because occurrences such as this usually only happen once in a lifetime.
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 at 11:54 am.