Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Did It

Image credit: Obama campaign.

We did it. Less than fifty years after the last Jim Crow law was rescinded, enough Americans ignored old prejudices to elect an African-American as our President.

Maybe it was time. Maybe it was just the right man at the right time. Or maybe it was just that enough people realized, after the trauma of the last eight years, that there are worse things that can happen to this country than having it run by a member of an ethnic minority. Whatever the reason, America is in some ways a better place.

One thing no one can say now is that America isn't ready to elect a black man President.

The Muslim "slur" of Obama, and the "consorts with atheists" charges by Elizabeth Dole against her challenger (and apparent successor) Kay Hagan in the North Carolina U.S. Senate race, show that we still have quite a way to go before we're truly a society that tolerates its differences. In neither case was Colin Powell's question the most asked one - "Why is being a [Muslim|atheist] a slur?"

Ugly as this campaign was at times, though, it probably would have been far uglier even twenty years ago. I'm sure there are young people reading this article wondering "What's so special about all this?" Maybe that's the most startling indication of how far we've come.

The field of potential Presidential candidates became larger this year. It now includes both women and black people. While there are certainly those who would try to make hay out of such minority status, and those who wouldn't vote for either, having a larger talent pool for one of the toughest political jobs on the planet is a good thing. That alone makes this a good day, even for those of us who are white American men.

Congratulations to Barack Obama, Joe Biden, their campaign and supporters, and the rest of us. We did it. All of us.

UPDATE (Nov. 5): As Lotus notes, Tom Toles caught the meaning of this election in his cartoon today.


HopeSpringsATurtle said...

Well I do hope Eric Massa prevails, it will makle Opera 99 very happy and I'm sure upstate NY will be the richer. I left you another little missive at my place because I will not let you falter into the trap of too-low expectations. Thanks for the post.

Dana Hunter said...

Muchos gracias, mi amigo. This post is exactly what I needed.

Cujo359 said...

I think you're right, Hope, Massa will make a good Congressman. My guess is that despite being a newbie, he'll quickly turn into a leader there. Ditto Darcy Burner if she wins.

You're welcome, Dana.