Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: A Little More Reflection on Our Accomplishment Tuesday

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Little More Reflection on Our Accomplishment Tuesday

There's no doubt, of course, that Tuesday's election was historic. Not to state the obvious, but one of the characteristics of history is that it keeps moving forward. Some of us with a certain amount of experience can look at the election of Barack Obama and be delighted that what seemed impossible forty-five years ago when Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington has actually come to pass. But to those who are younger, this may seem a momentous event, but they may not have realized that it was once assumed to be unattainable.

I talked to my nephew shortly after results from the West Coast came in and the networks called the election for Obama. Just to see what he'd say, I asked him if he ever thought that there'd be an African American president. He replied, "Yeah, . . . maybe." We were talking on the phone, so I couldn't see him, but the tone in his voice conveyed, "Why would you ask me that? What a silly question. Obviously, we have an African American president now."

And he's right--that's exactly where we stand right now. And this is the point from where we'll go forward. It's interesting to know that electing an African American seemed beyond reach not too long ago, but anyone who stayed in that moment was wrong (although I'll admit that the thought crossed my mind during the campaign and even on election day before all the counting was done). Instead, we've got to start from a point of recognizing what is possible and noting what becomes more possible as time goes on. We'll all be better off if the thought of impossibility never occurs to us--or at least doesn't bog us down. Who knows what we can accomplish.


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