Editor’s Note: I’ve tried to keep politics off of this blog, but I thought that this post, which is crossposted at The Personal is Political, is fitting, considering the outcome of this election.
One of the biggest moments in history happened to me when I was in high school. It was during AP American History that I and my classmates watched, spellbound, as the Twin Towers tumbled. “This is another day that will live in infamy,” I wrote in my journal that evening.
Tonight, I have been blessed to see yet another historical first. I was sitting in my chair, at my computer, glass of water in hand, when I and million others saw the projection: Obama has won the presidency.
I sniffled. I shed a tear or two. But more than that, I watched in awe, amazement, and delight that oh, dear goodness, a man of African descent has run for the highest office in the nation and won. No close calls, no Supreme Court decisions needed, just state after state of brilliant blue.
So many icons spoke of imagining a perfect world. This world isn’t anywhere near what one would deem perfect. But it feels that with this election, with this turnout, with millions of people in hundreds of countries have waited for with baited breath we, not just as a nation, but as a world have taken a crucial step towards perfection.
Do I expect that President-Elect Barack Obama will be the cure-all to what is wrong with the world? No, not remotely. I don’t feel any man or woman has that ability. But what I feel, deep within the confines of my soul, he is willing to listen to what the American people need and want, and will do what he can to aid countries who severely need our help, and will try to build better bridges with others.
Perhaps I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.
I was a sophomore in high school when I first read the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech I’ve Been to the Mountaintop. A part in particular stood out for me:
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
I often wondered what that promised land looked like. As I became even more militant, I wondered how in the world, after all MLK had seen, could he possibly see anything called a “promised land.” See, I always dreamt of running for president. But as I learned more about American history, I never thought I’d be able to do it. I’d be murdered on the spot, or I’d lose in disgrace. My skin color, in my mind, would prevent people from seeing the content of my character. In other words, unlike MLK, I feared man. I feared his ignorance. I feared.
Thanks to this election, and to this man who had to courage to run, I fear no longer. Thank you, President Obama, for allowing me to dream again.