Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Barack and Roll
At 8:00 this evening, all the major news outlets are projecting that Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States, and the first African-American to hold such an office.
I am thinking of the dead in Iraq, the falling towers of 9-11, the divisive politics of the last eight years in this country. George W. Bush is the worst president in history, and now he belongs to history.
The road ahead will not be easy. One of my students today suggested we might be in more trouble with a fully democratic government—president, House, and Senate. Our country faces financial ruin, demoralization, a lack of education, and worse, a denigration of the value of education. Racism is still an issue. Gun violence plagues our cities. We lack direction, a good reputation, an honor code, a mind life. We are America, land of the free, home of emptiness and failed possibility. We used to be somebody; now the world hates us for our arrogance and for what was once our dominance.
So it is time for a new resolve. We must return America to the top of the world—the ethical nation, the nation that helps other nations, the place of opportunity, the beacon of hope in the world. We must make sure every citizen has health care and a place to sleep safely at night. We must take care of our elderly, our mentally ill, our people.
This is a tall order, and might be impossible. But this is America, and we used to pursue the impossible as a matter of course. We, the American people, have infinite potential and unlimited possibility. We must seize the day, tighten our belts, and fight the good fight.
Only in America, where black men and women were once traded as property, and were once counted as three-fifths of a human being, who had to fight and scrape for every human right and dignity, could a black man become president. This is history; this is the dream. We are living in a new age, a new time. We are witnessing the greatness that is America, the great experiment of the world.
Let’s Barack and roll.