My mom always told me that you shouldn’t talk about politics, religion, or money in public. How true that is! However, this is a different kind of election. Regardless if I’m democrat or replublican, this has been an historic election for me and my family. That’s because we’re African-American, black, people of color, whatever you wish to call it.
My parents graduated from high school in 1954 in Illinois and Michigan. My mother should have been valedictorian of her class, but she was black. In the end, a compromise was reached, and she was co-valedictorian with a white classmate who had a lower GPA than she did. My father won a contest with Caterpillar in Peoria, but was denied the prize (an internship at Cat) because he was black. He tried to protest, but to no avail.
Because of my parents, and my grandparents, and my great-grandparents who couldn’t vote, watching Obama’s speech, regardless of my political leanings, was an awesome moment. And I mean that in the fullest sense of the word. It inspired awe in me. Awe in my country. Where else in the world, in one generation, can we go from the images of fire hoses and dogs loosed on little girls in their Sunday best to having Barack Obama accept the nomination for President of the United States of America.
Say what you will about his experience or lack thereof, his ability to lead, or his ability to make a speech. I’m still savoring that America is still the greatest nation on earth. That only in America could a race come so far in such a short time. I’m not saying that we’re perfect; we’re far from that. And I’m definitely not saying that race relations are perfect. Not even close. What I’m saying is that when my parents were young adults, they were kept from jobs and careers because of their race, and now we have a man nominated for President despite his race.
Will he win? Will race relations change? Will new conversations be had? Will people realize the greatness and potential to be had in this county? Who knows…we’ll see.
Thank you for this thoughtful post.