Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 4, 2008: A Turning Point in History

Out of the ashes of the worst eight years in American history comes the most progressive moment in the life of this young country.

I didn’t grow up in a very political household, but a socio-political moment from my childhood took form on this historic day.

Somewhere in the early seventies my mother had a moment of casual prescience. I had been asking her about the presidency, who can become president, etc. She said that any American citizen can.

I asked if a woman could be president. She said yes, technically, but that she thought the country would elect a black man as president before it elected a woman.

It was an offhand comment that stuck in my brain all these many years. And lo, it has come to pass. The primacy of male leadership has been upheld by the collective mandate at the time when Hillary Clinton was the most viable female candidate ever.

But that is looking back. It is a historic day to be shared and savored by all, the day that the race barrier to the highest office in the land was shattered. A man of color is now the leader of the free world. The social ripple effects of that will be tidal.

I pray that president elect Obama enters our lives with strength and wisdom and discernment. I reject any sense of the messianic about him. He needs to be a grounded, down-to-earth leader willing to slog through overlapping problems of the most serious nature. In reality, when the people’s work is really being done, it’s the least glamorous job there is. As citizens, we do him a dishonor to approach his administration with any expectation of miracles.

7 comments:

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

Very pleased for you and for us too, not least because the Palindrome effect seems to have disappeared without trace. Delicacy forbids me to suggest where it might have gone.

M.A.Peel said...

Christopher, do you think a black prime minister is anywhere on the horizon?

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

Brown is maybe a step in that direction...

dorki said...

I did not realize how tense I had been for the last year until the race was called last night. Sometimes one aches after relaxing.

For delivery from GWB and henchmen, I will gladly ache.

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

Jack Lang, the veteran French socialist politician and erstwhile Minister of Culture, described B.Obama on television the other morning as having 'une élégance morale'. J. and I thought long about how best to translate this. 'A moral elegance' didn't seem exactly right. I suggested 'He hath a daily beauty in his life' from Othello, but the next line 'that makes me ugly' seemed unfair to M.Lang, not among the handsomest of French politicians.

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

...what I was going on to say, before I clicked on Publish by mistake, was that I wonder who Barack Obama's Iago will turn out to be, and that I hope there won't be too many unfortunate parallels between him and Othello.

M.A.Peel said...

There are many questions about the Obama presidency. The thought rattling around my brain is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.