Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Just How Momentous

Last night, there was a man in the crowd at Grant Park that embodied wholly just how momentous an occasion it was to see Barack Obama become America's next president. That man marched with Martin Luther King Jr. at a time when black people used designated restrooms and water fountains. He fought the notion that blacks were unworthy of associating regularly - and unrestricted - with whites. He fought to ensure that anyone could vote in areas where violence was regularly done to those who tried to question Jim Crow. He watched his mentor die from a gunshot wound at a hotel where just moments before, they were standing, laughing. A black president was probably as alien a notion as one could get in the 1960s. If a black man was unworthy of a seat at the local coffee shop, how on earth could he garner the support of a nation and become the leader of this land? And later, he watched as a country who embraced segregation even more than the United States shrugged off that mantle, and elected its first black president, Nelson Mandela. South Africa, the bastion of Apartheid, had a black president before the land of the free, and the home of the brave. But last night, Jesse Jackson surveyed what he and his brethren wrought so many years ago, and rightfully wept for joy.