Thursday, November 06, 2008

R.O.I.

Anyone who knows me, or reads this blog would know that I was very happy man at 11:00 on Tuesday night. Barack Obama's win caused a swelling of pride in me that I can scarcely remember. No Olympic moment can compare with the true sense of patriotism that can be engendered when your country does something truly impressive. Don't get me wrong, I always cheer on our athletes at the Olympics, and I can get caught up in the "there's no way that Chinese girl is 16, and our gymnasts got jobbed" kind of patriotism, but this is just different.

Two days ago, our country did something singularly and spectacularly unique in the world. Namely, we practiced what we preach. We proved once and for all, that the United States of America is a place where anything can happen to anyone. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have a net worth less than some secretaries at Microsoft, and yet they worked hard and rose to lead their nation. Obama, who you may have noticed is black, and has a 'funny name', has become the leader of a nation who just a few decades earlier wouldn't have let him drink out of the same drinking fountain as me.

Don't fool yourself America, this couldn't happen anywhere else in the world without it happening here first. England, France, Germany or any of the other EU nations can think what they will of how young a culture we are, but on this, we have already passed them by. Canada and Australia, who are our fellow settler societies, are years away from being lead by a person of color, under any circumstance. What makes our situation all the better, is that we didn't just pick a black President to do so, we picked an eminently qualified man, who just happened to be black.

Most polls say that the vast majority of the youth vote went to Obama, and that among that group, his race was not a factor. On the heals of living live where their favorite actors, musicians and athletes are black, most young people don't even think about it in those terms, and race has become a secondary issue in their minds. While there are still plenty of vile, undereducated and small minded people in this land who will never see past Obama's race (or Biden's Irish Catholic roots) the future of this country just wants some one who can take a reasoned, rational approach to a problem, and who can have an open, honest and eloquent dialog with the world he leads. In Obama, we have all that and more.

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