Thursday, November 6, 2008

The meaning of Obama's election

Many people are pondering and pontificating as to what special meaning we can derive as a nation from the election of Barack Obama.

Much of what is said is valuable and helpful.

Michael Moor, erstwhile and dedicated patriot, notes that "In a nation that was founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves, it [Obama's election] was an unexpected moment, shocking in its simplicity: Barack Obama, a good man, a black man, said he would bring change to Washington, and the majority of the country liked that idea. ...

" [...] today we celebrate this triumph of decency over personal attack, of peace over war, of intelligence over a belief that Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs just 6,000 years ago. What will it be like to have a smart president? Science, banished for eight years, will return. Imagine supporting our country's greatest minds as they seek to cure illness, discover new forms of energy, and work to save the planet.

"We may, just possibly, also see a time of refreshing openness, enlightenment and creativity. The arts and artists will not be seen as the enemy. Perhaps art will be explored in order to discover the greater truths. ... What will it be like to work and create in an environment that nurtures and supports film and the arts, science and invention, and the freedom to be whatever you want to be? Watch a thousand flowers bloom!"

Tony Pugh of McClatchy Newspapers, reminds us that "When President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in January, he'll be standing on stone that was laid by more than 400 African slaves who helped build the structure from 1792 to 1800.

"While few modern Americans are aware of the role that slaves played in the early days of the nation, Obama's inauguration will be a pivotal moment in the nation's centuries-old struggle to purge itself of the sins of slavery."

And that is wonderful! But, Pugh refers us to Clarence Williams, a professor of history at the University of California at Davis, who warns that "Obama's victory doesn't mean that America is or ever will be colorblind. 'But what it does is suggest we have taken another gigantic step forward with our racial problem."

In other words, Obama's election is not the end, but another beginning: "America retains a unique ability to reinvent itself on the fly. And whatever problems we face as a nation, they're not intractable."

That's the hope of Obama!

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