It is fitting that President-elect Barack Obama’s victory speech tonight took place in Chicago’s Grant Park, named in honor of Civil War general and former President Ulysses S. Grant who led the Union Forces to victory in a war fought, in part, to free the slaves.
When I realized tonight that Barack Obama would be the next president of my country, my mind and heart turned to those who gave their all and in too many cases their lives so this day would come. I think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass, Medger Evers, Rosa Parks and Coretta King along with so many others, of all cultures and colors who fought so hard and for so long so that we, as a people, would learn to measure each other, as King said, “by the content of our character and not the color of our skin.”
If you are an American, then I gently encourage you to reflect on something for a moment. Whatever your political views, whether your heart is soaring, broken or ambivalent by the results of tonight’s election, allow yourself a nice dose of pride in your country. The finalists in the race for the presidency were a courageous man who is a senior citizen, a woman, a hard nose scrappy fellow from a blue-collar Pennsylvania enclave, and a man whose mother was from Kansas and father was from Kenya. If you are not American, please reflect too that today’s election in my country, a country I truly do love, shows that the real spirit of America is alive an well.
I believe the dynamics and realities of today’s election may be the first step in healing our country and in healing our country’s relationship with the rest of the world. We have passed through eight years with a president and vice-president who deserve neither title and should , in my view, be tried as war criminals. They have trashed the constitution, turned the justice department into a complete and utter farce, and have done so without a sliver of conscience between them.
Yet, despite all they’ve done, the extraordinary truth that is the American people has spoken. Perhaps now we can get back to being the country our founding father’s and the constitution intended.
God bless America.