Wednesday, November 5, 2008

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

No, he wasn't my Democratic choice. Yes, I was still mad about Hillary. That doesn't diminish the fact that America has experienced a monumental, historical moment.

I grew up in the 50's and 60’s. I remember what it was like when blacks were treated like animals by whites. I remember the scientists who tried to validate their racial hatred with "scientific data" that "proved" blacks evolved from apes. I remember seeing George Wallace, governor of Alabama, fighting to keep segregation in his state. I remember watching Arkansas governor Orvil Faubus defy the new integration laws and attempt to prevent black children from entering Little Rock's Central High School. I remember the Civil Rights Movement and hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C. in front of hundreds of thousands of people. His speech still brings tears to my eyes and makes the hair on my arms stand up.

"I have a dream today."

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood."

"This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."

"Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

"Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring — when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics — will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

I remember it all.

America has made history again and my hope is that everyone, regardless of party, race, gender or religion, will take a moment, if not to celebrate, at least acknowledge, appreciate and be thankful for this moment in history. It is as important as Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. It is as important as the 19th Amendment to the Constitution giving women the right to vote. It is as important Apollo 11's landing on the moon's surface and Commander Neil Armstrong's unforgettable words, "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind." ... and so is our new President Elect, Barack Obama.

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