At 11 O'Clock last night many wrongs were made right. Our country has finally disavowed the politics of hate and personal attacks. Our country has finally eschewed the failed policies of G.W. Bush and the republican party. Our country has finally taken the most symbolic of gestures and made a black man the holder of the highest office in this country.
Three hundred and eighty nine years ago the first African slaves were brought to this country at the Jamestown settlement in Virginia (damn those limey bastards!). Last night the citizens of Virginia helped put a man of African decent in the Oval Office. Finally the pride felt by all those immigrant groups who came here post 1619 to seek a better life can be felt by the people whose ancestors were forced to come here, forced to build this country and forced to take there place at the back of the line behind all of those who came after. President Obama's election has not erased the 389 years of misery and pain, but it is a symbol of what can be realized in this great country of ours despite of our faults.
President Obama is not a baby boomer or a Generation X'er. He is like me, the first American children raised in the post civil rights era. We were told that all men were created equal. We were told that color of skin does not define a person. We were told that there should be no limits on what anyone can achieve regardless of where they came from or what they look like. Unlike any generation born prior we drank the Kool Aid and we believed. Of course we had hundreds of years of ignorance and fear to overcome, but we drank the Kool Aid and it made sense, common sense. As children we were unaware of the fact that in the years just preceding our births our sports teams weren't integrated, that black men were not allowed in certain jobs or allowed to eat in certain places. As we grew up we were confused as to why there was all of this emphasis on "race" when we couldn't see the problems. We grew up with black people holding elected office, teaching classrooms, fighting fires and policing the streets. It wasn't until we grew up that we realized what we had heard, seen and observed growing up was just an illusion. Things weren't OK. Racism was still alive and well and feelings of equality and unity were only a recent phenomenon.
The biggest lesson we can gain from Mr. Obama's election is that what you teach your children becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. We can continue to teach our children our idealistic views of how the world should be and if they don't bear fruit immediately, just wait forty years or so and the lessons learned as youngsters will produce amazing things, unbelievable things.
"I see a White House and I want to paint it Blaack...", the Stones bastardized lyrics keep playing in my head. Many of McCain's cronies were saying that when Barack got in office he would paint the White House black. I say "Paint it Black"...why not...this has been 389 years in the making. Our country was built on the backs of Black slaves who had the same wants, hopes and needs as any other human being living in America and now that a Black man will be living in the Whitest of houses let him do whatever he can to improve the human condition for everyone. Even if he paints it black.