The Day After

Editor’s note: I wrote much of this entry shortly after President-elect Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, but chose to wait a day to post. You will see why.

I just finished watching Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. Then I went home, had a glass of wine before finally going to bed. When I awoke the next morning, I noticed the sun crept into the bedroom at the same pace and in the same place as it had the day before. I walked outside on this gorgeous day and noticed nothing different about the street on which I live.I walked “Boobaloo” and he did what he always does which is pee on every mailbox post on my street.

It was the morning of Wednesday November 5th … and nothing had changed. At the same time, everything had changed.

An African-American was elected President the night before.

Let’s forget about politics for a moment. Let’s forget about Republican and Democrat for just a few paragraphs. Let’s think about what has happened.This country was born in 1776, but it took over 232 years for the promise of our founding fathers to be realized. To actually see that “all men are created equal”. Whether you agree with him or not, to see an African-American rise to the highest and most powerful office in the land is a statement in itself.

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It’s a statement about ourselves and our country. We have come so far, far enough that America chose to look past race and bias and look at the candidates as they are. America looked at their policies their practices, their beliefs and their being, and picked the man they felt would be best to run this country.

Is Barack Obama the right choice? Will he help our country out of economic debt and war? Who can really say, but to know that the majority of this country chose a man who less than 45 years ago would considered less than a citizen says volumes about who we are as a people and what we want our country to be.

What I can promise you is that his ascension to the Presidency will be a turning point for young African-American men. These youths are at risk, with one out of every four being dead, in jail or on drugs. Now, those kids can no longer say there is nothing for them in the larger world. There is now a world of possibilities … and a world of hope for them.

I won’t tell you how I voted. I’m allowed that bit of privacy, but I can tell you as an African-American I am moved. It will be hard not to look at Obama taking the oath of office on January 20th and not consider the possibilities for people who look like me.

I spoke to my father this morning. Living outside Chicago, he watch the proceedings at Grant Park and he told me cried tears of joy. He told me at the age of 71, he could die a happy man because he saw the two events he thought he would never see in his lifetime: An African-American in the White House and his beloved Chicago White Sox win the World Series, which they did in 2005.

Now is the time to show our collective pride, because once Obama takes office he becomes a politician … held to the same standard as the previous 43 men who held the position. It’s how it should be in a country where Presidents are now analyzed by “the content of their character, not the color of their skin”.

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