What touched me the most about Obama's acceptance was not his speech, however dynamic it was (you must admit, he's one dynamic speaker), but the shot of Jesse Jackson in the audience with a tear in his eye. I know, Rev. Jackson is about as controversial as they come and he's said some things lately that were, well, not that well thought out. But this is a man who participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches with Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, was made national director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by Dr. King in 1967, stood behind Dr. King during the epochal "I have a Dream" speech in DC, and was in the parking lot on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN when Dr. King was shot. His zeal for the civil rights movement never wavered, regardless of the criticism that he drew throughout the years. I would be willing to bet that he thought it very unlikely that he would see an African American elected to the presidency during his lifetime. But it happened. And from what I saw during the political pundit's debates and the word on the street, for the most part, it was never about whether Obama was black and how that was going to affect voter's perceptions of him, but whether he was the best candidate for president. Could this be a fulfillment of Dr King's famous words, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character". It's all a bit amazing and wonderful if you ask me.
And what if McCain had been elected? I can't ignore that we would then have a female vice president, also a history maker. Remember the Mondale/Ferraro ticket? I was young, but I have distinct memories of hearing men (elders, no less) at church comment on how a woman couldn't run the country, under any circumstances. This confused me greatly being that I (a) was female, (b) knew more about politics than some of the codgers in my church, and (c) thought that kind of thinking clearly didn't gel well with what we were being taught by Pastor Ellis on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. But I digress. Yes, there were debates regarding Palin's level of experience, but they hinged on the amount of time she had spent in office and not on the fact that she was a woman. Is this a sign that the times really are a changin? Or is all of this history making merely due to the fact that the two major parties both had minorities running?
You know what? I don't care. We have an African American president, and it's about damn time. Now when we see Morgan Freeman as the president in a movie we no longer have to think "Yeah, like that will ever happen." Because it has. And it didn't happen because he was black, it happened because the American people thought him the best candidate for the job.