Today is a Great Day

I guess I’ll be the first to write about last night’s stunning events.

As a 9 year-old boy in 1978 I accompanied my mother to our local trauma center in the Bronx to visit the teenage son of a close friend of hers.  The boy had been severely beaten in a fight at a street fair.  The fair was a traditional Italian-American affair (a “fest” as they were known) “disrupted” by some black patrons.  Apparently words were spoken to some of the local girls.  In the outerborough style of the day baseball bats were pulled from the trunks of Camaros and Monte Carlos.  The rest was predictable.

Ten years later, I vividly recall sitting in my student apartment at Georgetown trying to explain to my far more sophisticated classmates why people I had grown up with in Yonkers were overturning the cars of Yonkers city councilmen who were leaving a vote to accept the order, on pain of contempt, direct federal intervention and crippling fines, of a federal district judge to reverse generations of de facto discrimination in housing and, as a consequence, the Yonkers school system.

Yesterday, my wife and I took our boys to our local polling place.  In their style, they hammered away on their Nintendo DS’s while we waited to vote.  A black boy, perhaps two or three years older than them, asked if he could “show them some things” on the game.  They quickly surrendered their game and sat mesmerized while he displayed jedi skills they never thought possible.  When it was time to go, my boys fiercely resisted leaving their new “friend”.

I’m not sure that any of Barack Obama’s policies will be good for our country.  However, yesterday he showed us how to take the progress we have made in this country in overcoming its original sin and translated it into an electoral victory and a bellweather for social change.  That can never be taken away from him…or us.  If he does nothing else, his place in history is secure.


3 Responses to “Today is a Great Day”

  1. Timothy Peach Says:

    Even the crustiest conservative must have choked up a little when the horrifying Jesse Jackson stood their with the hoi polloi in Grant Park, sobbing with joy like a child on Christmas morning. I know I did.

    It was a transcendental moment. I wish I could really empathize with African-Americans who, despite all the progress this nation has made over the long years, never really believed they had a full seat at the table. And suddenly, all that angst just burst away like confetti, and a sense of the shared joy of America was everywhere.

    I make Barry Goldwater look like a hippie, and I was overcome by the moment. It really was a great day.

  2. Mark Grannis Says:

    Michael Novak suggests an analogy that will probably resonate with Catholics born before 1950:

    “I will never forget the moment in January 1961, when John F. Kennedy was sworn in as president. I was watching his inaugural address in the cafeteria of the Harvard Law School, when I was startled by feeling warm tears streak down my cheeks. I was caught by surprise; I had not expected that. Yet it was so astonishing to witness a Roman Catholic becoming the public face of our nation, as presidents always do. It had seemed impossible to imagine, in this very Protestant country. In the Harvard graduate schools, a Catholic felt like a man with green hair—an oddity. But not any more, not after John F. Kennedy became president.”

  3. [Name Withheld by Request] Says:

    Just two days after–is it merely coincidence or is this truly a change we can believe in… :-)

    DJIA 9,625 – 8,696 = 930 OR -9.7%

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