I write these words at 2:24 p.m. on 11/4/08. Later today, in all likelyhood, Barack Obama will be elected the 44th President of the United States. If this happens this will be without a doubt the most historic Presidential Election since Colonial times. That an African American could hold the highest office in this land...well, to use the words of songwriter Greg Brown "Who woulda thunk it?"
And this a great and hopeful revolution. If it turns out as I suspect it will, I can say that there has not been a day in my 49 years that I have been prouder to be an American. I have no logical reasoning to support this claim. It's just a feeling. And I certainly do not claim that Barack and his platform are beyond criticism. But if someone asked for first thoughts I would say, as someome who has studied American History in some depth, that maybe happiest by-product of this contest is that, psychologically speaking, it effectively eliminates the residual bad karma of slavery in this country. One can tout Civil Rights and Affirmative Action all one wants, but the election of Barack Obama speaks louder by far that any compensatory action that has come before.
Of course not all the votes have been counted yet. But my gut feeling is tremendously positive. And if you can forgive me for a rather silly digression, I must admit that the fact that Barack and I share the same birthday (August 4th) is especially pleasing to one who, out of some mysterious constitutional necessity, has spent probably too much time remembering various historical dates, events, and personages.
By the way, if you are wondering about the heading of this entry search out the songwriter Billy Bragg and read the lyrics of his song "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward".