Andrew Magrath (biggrumpy) wrote,
Andrew Magrath

Victory and Civil Justice

My friend Rhea made some interesting comments about Obama in my last post. She made the case that Obama will be affective because of what he symbolizes. That really hit me last night and today. America has changed, in a way that is encouraging. What is so often forgotten in American history is just how stunted that history truly is. Lincoln and Twain were contemporaries, Jefferson died a mere 40 years before the Civil War, we tend to view our history like we do those of other nations -- in long broad strokes with great gulfs of time between our leaders, our thinkers, and our "eras". And yet that simply is not the case. We have a stunted nationhood separated not by centuries, but by decades.

It is in that vein that I viewed Obama's victory last night. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed a mere 44 years ago. That puts its passage within many of our parents' lifetimes and certainly those of our grandparents. I have heard many people saying race is not an issue and not understanding why "some people" will not just let it go. This is why: their grandparents could not sit in the same cab as a member of another race. This is not an abstraction: a long reach to some distant relative whose never been met, never been seen, never been known. "Some people" need only ask a grandparent to hear the horrors of racism and segregation. It is still very much in the collective consciousness of America.

We have come a long way on the road to equality. People far better, far braver, and far more human than I, have walked the road. But we must also remember that the path is not yet at its end. As much as Obama's victory helps to validate the struggle of those that came before, the Republican campaign revealed hidden and deep racism and intolerance that still lurks in certain segments of the US population. It has shown that we have come a very long way, but have not reached the final destination. Indeed Obama's own policies on the rights of homosexuals show that we have a long way yet to go.

Obama's victory is not the end of bigotry. It is the affirmation that we are on the right path, and it must also remind us that the path stretches farther still. I only hope that we will continue to walk it, carrying others if necessary, but always, always, together and forever onward.

Congratulations to Barrack Obama, despite my reservations about his ability to lead compared to my candidate of choice Ralph Nader, Obama's victory is symbolic. I do not mean that in a dismissive or flippant way, I mean that honestly and reverently -- in the same way that man walking on the moon was symbolic, the same way the Berlin Wall coming down was symbolic, our Declaration of Independence and subsequent Constitution were symbolic -- Obama being elected to the office of the presidency was symbolic. And like all great portents of change and symbolism of affirmation, it makes me proud of my state and my country.

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