I think I would be remiss if I didn’t make a few observations on this historic day, putting aside politics and policy.
First: I believe that this is the first time a nation has, in free and unrestricted elections, elected a member of a minority race to be the leader of their legally elected government. That is a monumental thing!
Secondly: I have no idea what history will record about the 44th president of the United States of America, but I do know that while American history is still taught – be that one generation or one hundred – Barack Hussein Obama Jr. will be remembered as the first black man to hold the highest office in this republic. There are some mutterings that because his mother is white, he isn’t “black enough” to hold the title.
Yesterday, Neal Boortz described the
“. . . black men coming back from World War II to a country where they had separate waiting rooms and drinking fountains; where they had to sit in theatre balconies if they could get into the theatre at all; where they could surely spend their money at Woolworth’s, but don’t try to sit at the lunch counter; where a black soldier couldn’t even find a decent motel in which to put his family to bed as he traveled across our country to a new duty station —– to come home from World War II to experience this oppressive segregation and bias —- and instead of burning this place to the ground going right back out there and fighting for America in the Korean War.”
In 1961, when Barack Obama was born, the city in which I currently live would have not permitted his mother and father to marry. When he was four, if he had visited my fair city he wouldn’t have been permitted to watch a movie on the same floor as his mother, eat at the same restaurant or enter the same laundromat. Jim Crow laws, and other segregation laws defined any one as colored who contained at least 1/4 “negro blood.” Of course, if you looked “white enough” you could often pass as white and escape the laws. The way I see it, if Barack Obama would have been “black enough” back then to be shut out, he’s most definitely “black enough” now to be called the first black president of these United States.
Many of those veterans to which Neal Boortz referred, are alive today to see what they never thought would be possible in their life times. Men and women who couldn’t even vote in some places forty years ago, are watching a black man take the oath of the highest office in the land. They are celebrating. If he’s “black enough” for them, who am I to question?
So today, I say, “Mr. Obama, congratulations.”