Wednesday, June 4, 2008

we will look back at this moment

no matter whether you're a conservative, a liberal, an independent (as i am), a republican, a democrat, a hippie, a yuppie, young, old, rich, poor - if you're an american, this is a moment that is important. that is history. that is a moment we absolutely must recognize. not because the talking heads on tv say it is important - but because we will look back at this moment, and we will see that something important happened.
an african-american person - a black person, a colored person, a negro, a "nigra" as my grandmother used to say - a member of a group of americans who for hundreds of years were not considered fully human beings; a member of a group of americans who have felt disenfranchised and ghettoized and ignored; a member of the strange moniker "minority"; a member of a group of americans who have never had access to the highest levels of power in the same way that the ruling class has; a member of a group of americans who in my lifetime were not allowed to drink water from the same fountain, or use the same restaurant counter, or live in the same neighborhoods, as the people who had had power since the beginning of the american experiment. now the experiment has produced a new result, a perhaps unexpected but nevertheless organically coherent result. one that would of course happen at some point, if the american people were courageous enough to live out what it is they say they believe.
barack obama has won the delegates to become the nominee of one of our two controlling political parties, for the most important and powerful office in the world: president of the united states of america.
it's weird. it's big. it's huge. it's unlikely. it's overdue. it's unlike anything i've seen in my 47 1/2 years on the planet. and i am paying attention.
i don't know what will happen. i don't know what he will do regarding picking a vice presidential running mate; i don't know whether he will become president; i don't know whether, if elected, he'll be a good president (although it'd be hard not to be better than the one we've had for the last two terms). i don't know what role hillary - and bill - clinton will play in either helping, or messing things up, or whatever.
what i do know is this: this is an historic moment. one that is to be recognized as a turning point in american history. and we are here. watching and listening. participating, just by being here, now.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

History is hard. History is relentless. In my lifetime I have seen historical moments with two Kennedys and Martin Luther King... soldiers and four dead at Kent State. I pray to God that our culture can embrace hope and change without the violence that is a part of our legacy...

journeyingrick said...

amen. i hope so as well. mlk said that the arc of history is long but that it bends toward justice. but in order for true justice to happen, from the jewish prophets to jesus to every great pioneer who dared to change things for the better, there's resistance and fear when god brings the new thing.
the african-american gay writer james baldwin said, forty years or so ago, that we can be better than we are, but the price is enormous, and few of us are ready yet.
i hope that we are more ready today than we were then.