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 November, 2008


 Not a Collection of Red States and Blue States

Not a Collection of Red States and Blue States
By Al Owens

I cried last Tuesday night. I’m sure you know why. And I also know I wasn’t alone.
At shortly after eleven o’clock the networks began telling us what we already knew, “Change is coming to America.”

Change. What a beautiful word. America. What a wonderful idea.

For months, that little known U.S. Senator from Illinois had held a mirror up to America and pleaded with us to take a long look. On Tuesday, most American voters could only see the possibilities in that mirror.

So that by the time I stood and cheered with tears engulfing me, cameras around the world flooded us with the images of people who’d seen more than just a political victory – but the opportunity for this country to finally, once and for all – “live out the true meaning of its creed.”

The political victory isn’t something I’d like to deal with here. Let the political scientists ponder that. I don’t have much interest, today, for facts and figures.
The emotional consequence is what is causing my fingers to toss out words and letters with great pride and with urgency.

I’m a black man. Somebody who looks (somewhat) like me, will soon become the most powerful man on this planet. You may find it impossible to feel what I’m feeling at this very moment. That’s ok. But please read further.

There have been times when I’ve felt anything but powerful.

My father had always told me that whatever I wanted to be, I could be. I’ve tried, but that just hasn’t always happened.
My only regret the other night was that my father hadn’t lived long enough for me to tell him, “Dad, you’d been right all along.”

Tuesday night had changed everything. Barack Obama is living proof of the possibilities. Perhaps it’s too late for me to aspire to greatness, but I know there are school children who hadn’t considered such paths before, who are setting their sights on it today. That’s a tribute to that man named Barack.
Those cameras caught the faces of young children who’d never really felt that disease we call racism with as many tears running down their faces as were on mine. I couldn’t read their thoughts, but I’d be willing to wager there are aspiring presidents among them. Wouldn’t that be wonderful, if not, by then, so “historic?”

Americans, even those who aren’t true believers in the inspirational thrust of Barack Obama, should take note of the significance of our heretofore lost generation. This generation now thinks.

This now generation feels.

And more importantly, this generation votes.
Thanks again to Barack Obama.

And too, I had never truly thought that the night could also belong to the Rev. Jesse Jackson. But there, across my television screen, I saw the close-up face of that old social warrior. He was crying like a baby.

He is the same Rev. Jackson that has, for too long, become the conservative’s name for misplaced hope.
But people should not forget he, too, had sought the same high office for himself, some time back. But he hadn’t gotten nearly as far.
There was no need, on Tuesday night, for Jackson’s envy. That’s simply because long before his own runs for the presidency, he had diligently fought to clear the way for our new president.

Our new president. Those words, in themselves, bring me to tears. He is not just my president. He is ours. Our country. Our promise. Our destiny.
He’ll not always have the luxury of failure. Forceful and persistent political winds will ensure he’ll face scrutiny that will be unlike that of any president in our history.

You may not believe this, but if you thought I was tough on George W. Bush, wait ‘til I get my hands on President Obama.
Yet, on this day, and at this time, I am unapologetically sold on the prospects of our new endeavor.

I, and many people of my generation, have waited our entire lives for this moment. Now, President Obama, IT’S TIME TO GO TO WORK!

Edward A. Owens of Uniontown is Webmaster of “Red Raider Nation: Where Champions Live.” E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net