The 2008 Presidential election is over; history has been made; the mantle has been passed from . . . one man . . . one political party . . . one ideology . . . and most notably, one race to another. From the back seat of a bus fifty-three years ago to the highest, most honorable seat in the land, this singular giant step in history will surely not erase the painful past of oppression and injustice but will hopefully represent a turning point in which the two become history. As the day of discrimination and disenfranchisement begin to fade, the dawning of a new day will be the mark of a promising future of equality and justice for all. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of “a dream that one day . . . every hill and mountain shall be made low.” This past Tuesday was that day. A day when a longtime dream gave way to a long-awaited reality. A day when the playing field for a people victimized for so long, is leveled with a victory of promise and hope. This day, November 4th, 2008 constitutes the election of the first African American to the office of President of the United States, Barack Obama.
We Americans stand united not only in celebrating this milestone but on many fronts: The President we serve, the desire for change, the issues of the day (like the economy, the war, and energy independence, among others). Unfortunately, though, that is where our common ground ends and uncertainty begins. The history has yet to be written on what’s to come. So how do we bridge the divide? How do we overcome the “partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long?” To paraphrase a leader in the woman’s suffrage movement, give yourself to the wrongs that need resistance, the right that needs assistance, and the future in the distance. In other words, like gold, we should submit our policies and provisions to the refining fire of careful scrutiny, taking captive every idea in order to refute any vain argument or pretension that threatens to jeopardize “truth, justice, and the American way.” This is necessary for the survival and perpetuation of freedom here and all over the world. “So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder . . . This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time.” “In this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.” Can we do it? “Yes We Can!”