What follows was originally posed on my Blogger site on Saturday, October 25, 2008:
It’s almost here…and gone. The most important election of my lifetime has been marred with fact-twisting and mud-slinging from the candidates, scandals about pastoral endorsements, flippant quips from an arrogant neophyte politician, yet another sex scandal, it’s highlighted an economy and financial markets in the tank, and at it’s highest point has seen me spend $79 to fill the family car.
Stop the ride, I wanna get off!
But here’s been at least one quantifiable bright spot to all of this. I’ve enjoyed watching Tina Fey deliver the absolute best political impersonation since Rich Little did Ronald Reagan. Apparently, I’m old enough to remember that.
But just when I get sidetracked and frustrated by all the aforementioned stupidity, I’m reminded of something that few of us are paying any attention to – the fact that America has changed.
We’ve changed in a few ways: 1) the average American is more politically savvy, 2) our youth are excited by something other thanCollege Hill and Lost and 3) we just might elect a black president. I could go on all day and about the first two, but let me just offer a very brief thought about the third.
Regardless of your political persuasion, please don’t miss the historic nature of Obama’s campaign. African-Americans just got the vote during my parent’s lifetime, and my grandmother can still talk of lynchings in her home town in Arkansas. McCain is 72 years old– about my grandmother’s age. So to put that in context, my grandmother’s grandparents (and McCain’s) lived during slavery time. It may seem like long long ago, but it in the span of history it was just 20 seconds ago. I still miss my great-grandmother giving me tighty-whitey’s every Christmas till I was 20. She died on 1993. She no doubt hoped, but I imagine she never dared to dream about an African-American president even during my lifetime. I know I didn’t.
While Obama’s candidacy by no means says that we’ve ended racism, it does say that the average American believes more in the inclusiveness of the American dream than even I previously believed. As a black man and as a parent, this shift is very profound to me. It means that we actually are beginning to judge each-other by the content of our character. If Obama is elected, I just might make it a generational affair and take 3 generations of my family to watch the inaugural in person.
There just might be weeping.