Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Dawning of A New Day
A transformative night.
A transformative candidate.
Barack Obama did something that many didn't think was possible. He lifted a majority of US citizens beyond and above the racial divide.
As I took it all in last night I was again struck by the idea that our society has come so far. I thought of Jackie Robinson who broke the color barrier in baseball. Jackie had to be so tough that he wouldn't fight - turned the other cheek. He took the abuse so that the other great players to come wouldn't have to. It didn't hurt that he was also one of the best baseball players to ever play the game.
I've pondered whether Obama is the Jackie Robinson of US Politics. And I've decided that he is not. Men like Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X and countless others whose sacrifices were so profound played that role. Barack Obama is more akin to Henry Aaron: able to achieve greatness because the barrier had been diminished.
But there was another player in US politics who should not be left out of this: Jesse Jackson. The moment of last night for me was not Obama's speech and it was less the anouncement of the victory. The moment for me was Jesse Jackson fighting back the cascade of tears glistening in the night light in Chicago. His lip trembling and his emotions raw. This is a man who lived the struggle and most of his past tears have been shed in sadness. Those tears last night were totally different.
That image will stay with me as we proceed through the next four years.
Fired up! Ready to go!