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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama's election a proud moment for all Americans.

Barack Obama /

Among the moving comments I read this morning in the wake of yesterday's extraordinary election of Barack Obama as the next president of the United States:

Sixty-six-year-old Jake Coakley picked cotton as a boy in Beaufort, S.C., just as his father and grandfather did before him. So yesterday, as he stood amid a throng of people hugging, high-fiving, and even weeping outside a Roxbury polling place, he wanted to underscore the significance of the day. . . .

"At the time when I came up, I couldn't see beyond the cotton fields," Coakley said. "There wasn't anybody in my life I could look at who could see beyond the cotton fields. And to see this man come the way that he's come, through all the struggle and all the marching and all the hanging and all the lynching and everything that was done in this country, whatever doubts that I have, whatever I feel within me, this is the best country on the face of this earth. And we're not just talking about it. We're living it."

Adam Serwer of The American Prospect writes:

A biracial man with a Muslim father and an Arabic/Swahili name, reared by his white grandparents, has ascended to the highest position in American politics. This was not Malcolm [X]'s dream. It was not something he saw as possible. Another man saw it, a man Obama paid homage to tonight when he said "we may not get there in one year or in one term, but America I promise you, we as a people will get there." That man knew he would not get here with us, and he was right. But we could not have come here without him. And we still have a ways to go. . . .

Obama's gift is that he understood America's great secret, that Americans have a deep and abiding need to love one another, and that we only lack the courage to do so. The theme of Obama's campaign has been a simple affirmation that we are in fact, one, in ways Malcolm never could have though possible and in ways Martin Luther King only dreamed of.

Red Staters should take heart in the knowledge that this ideal is not exclusive. Obama's victory does not mean this is no longer your country. It is not the country conservatives believed it was, but it is theirs as much as it is ours. This is a nation of whites, blacks, Asians and Latinos, gay and straight, conservatives and liberals, small towns and coastal metropolises. No passion can ever break our bonds of affection, no matter how often it may seem so. McCain was wrong: this isn't a proud moment for African-Americans. This is a proud moment for America.


("Among blacks, joy and tears at journey's end," Michael Levenson, Boston Globe 11.5.08; "We are all Americans now," Adam Serwer, TAPPED 11.5.08)

Copyright © 2008 by Philocrites | Posted 5 November 2008 at 10:12 PM

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Charlie Talbert:

November 6, 2008 01:14 PM | Permalink for this comment

Not everyone is so positive. A woman in my partner’s yoga class told her that her nine-year old son was disappointed with the election, because his dream – now unrealizable – was to become the first African American president.

Paul Maurice Martin:

November 7, 2008 11:35 PM | Permalink for this comment

It's an instant uplift, that's for sure, in terms of America's reputation.

The last eight years have been so damaging in so many ways. I can't think of a president elect in my lifetime who had this kind of work cut out for him.

Brian Duffin:

November 9, 2008 08:03 PM | Permalink for this comment

I am so proud to see a partial fulfillment of Dr. King's dream. I honestly believe that people saw Barack Obama as a candidate for president and not as a black candidate for president. And what a thrill it is for me to witness such an historic event when America will have its first African American as president. God bless President-elect Barack Obama and the USA!


November 9, 2008 08:18 PM | Permalink for this comment

Brian, I think you're exactly right.

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