Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope springs eternal

Well, it’s here. America is now officially different. We have a black president. The long night of slavery and oppression has ended, and while racism still has not been conquered, and the wounds wrought by slavery have not been fully healed, the greatest hurdle has been leaped. The rest will now surely come in time. Until this year, many believe it would be a century or more, if ever, before a black man would be elected president, , the leader of the United States, the most powerful man in the world. For four hundred years black Americans have lived under the truth that they and their ancestors did not travel to America in search of a better world, they were dragged here in chains. They had no investment in the American Dream. Plymouth Rock, as was famously said, had landed on them. Now, while none of that had changed, all of it has. The history of black America, of Jim Crow, of Slavery, of segregation, of lynchings and bigotry and hatred have been overcome. The Klansmen and the bigots have lost, and we can never return to the place where we were, because now and forever, when a black father tells his child “you can grow up to be anything you want to be” it will be true.

The moment for me was not the prayer or the oath or Bush taking off in Executive One. For me it was the moment before the luncheon when President Obama entered Statuary Hall and the band played Hail To The Chief. At that moment he was, for me, truly the president of the United States, and at that moment I was filled with the giddy euphoria that the crowd out on the mall felt, and I giggled and wept at the same time.

It is a new day. Perhaps the old enmities will resurface tomorrow. Perhaps the partisanhip and rancor will go on. But right now, at this moment, there is hope for a new America.


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