It is once again morning in America. I awoke this morning with the realization that on the 4th day of November, 2008 we as a nation finally drove the final stake through the heart of the slavery upon which this country was built by electing Barack Hussein Obama as our 44th President.
As I pedaled between home and my office, I was filled with an overwhelming pride. I found myself considering what this election means; not just for the African Americans in the United States, not just for other minorities in our great country, but for children of all races, all creeds, both male and female around the world.
For the past 28 years, certain of our countrymen have attempted to make the word ‘liberal’ a bad thing. These individuals have attempted to brand those who would seek to change our nation as socialists, communists, soft on terrorism, soft on crime, and have filled our airwaves with messages of hate and racism, mostly very subtle, but much not so subtle either. President-Elect Obama has helped us to overcome much of this. He has continued to acknowledge history and show vision for a bright future.
As a child of the 50’s and 60’s, I grew up with a father who was not outraged by the racism of his time, but was outraged by the race riots that were taking place. While not outwardly racist himself, he stood by the very men who would seek to further the racist policies in our great nation. He rejected the very men and women who were seeking to bring about changes in the civil rights movement and sought safe harbor in the politics of the status quo.
Like almost every other American, I remember where I was the day JFK was assassinated. I also remember where I was the day his brother Robert was assassinated and the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Living through these events, and later the assassination of Anwar Sadat, much of my view of the world was changed. We live in a dangerous and troubled world, and there are individuals and groups of individuals who resist great change and resist the unity that these visionaries sought to bring.
In my lifetime, I have been blessed to watch the United States change from a time when certain individuals could not walk into a restaurant because of the color of their skin to a time when a black couple with their two lovely daughters stood arm in arm, center stage in front of the American People and in fact, the entire world, and acknowledged with great pride and humility that they were not only prepared to, but had been asked to walk through the front door of the White House in just over two months to lead us through whatever we face for the next four years. And this morning I am filled with a pride that I have never before experienced.
Today, I am proud to be an American in a way I have never felt proud before. 28 years ago, Ronald Wilson Reagan stood before the American People and, with a twinkle in his eye, stated that it was “Morning In America.” As much as I disagreed with him during the time he was my president, he was right. Coming out of the Watergate scandal, the oil embargoes, staggering inflation and violence throughout the world, a great change was needed. Some immediate change did take place that was very positive for the world, though much of the change that has taken place during the past 3 decades has been change that has made our nation and our world less safe, less kind, less gentle and less tolerant.
During that time, we have had four presidents who sought to bring about their own visions of change. The past eight years have been a traumatic time in our world. The violence that has spread like a virus threatens to destroy us, and there are individuals and groups of individuals who celebrate this threat. They have always been amongst us, and always will. We cannot and must not be cowed by them. We must continue to stand up to them. For the past eight years, we as a people have not been asked to sacrifice. We have not been asked to do one thing. When our country was attacked, we were told to go shopping.
The recklessness with which our current leadership has utilized our most precious of resources (i.e., our young women and men who so bravely volunteer to defend us in our time of crisis) has brought us to the brink of extinction as a nation. This cavalier show of force in which we have engaged has squandered a budget surplus, has weakened our strength in the eyes of the world and has contributed to making our world less safe. Last night ushered in a bright new day. It is again Morning in America and I hold my head high as I accept the challenge placed before me by my new commander in chief to be a part of a changing world. What is the sacrifice you ask of me, Mr. President? You see, last night I got the first really good night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time. Yes, it is once again morning in America and I am well rested and ready to serve.