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.