Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama and the Next Generation

Newsweek's Jon Meacham:
“Obama’s election offers us an occasion to celebrate not only his achievement but the nation that made it possible. The tableau of his family moving to the White House, a residence built in part by slaves, in a capital city whose guiding Constitution enshrined slavery, is one that will alter forever how Americans and the rest of the world understand race and power and history. My dead grandparents — shaped by the Depression, tested by World War II and the long standoff with the Soviets — could not have imagined a black First Family. My children — the oldest is 6, the youngest 8 months — will never know an America in which there was not one.”
Meacham's passage reminds me of an experience I myself had at an Obama rally in North Philadelphia last month. I remember looking at an African-American man carrying his daughter on hs shoulders. The girl couldn't have been older than five, meaning that this election - in which a black man ran for, and ended up winning, the presidency - would be the first election she would remember. That little girl - and millions of little boys and girls of all races - will grow up with no frame of reference other than an America in which a black man can be president. Remarkable.

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