Several months ago, I wrote an unpublished piece called Puttin’ Out The Trash—And It’s About Damn Time on our national dialog about race. It included several comments from callers to talk radio shows, along with my own unspoken responses. My hope was that all the trash people were putting out into the public discourse would eventually lead to some measure of understanding and healing. One call from before the Iowa primary stands out in my mind more than any other:
Caller: I’m a black man, and I will not vote for Barak Obama because he cannot win. White people will not vote for a black man, so why should I waste my vote?
My response: It’s a damn lie; you must get past it. Don’t live that lie.
In the wake of this racially charged election and Barak Obama’s landslide election, I hope we’ve learned some things about our collective myths and our personal lies. Perhaps many of us have learned that we can judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin--or their body shape, sexual orientation, social class, citizenship, or any other simplistic and narrow-minded measure. Discerning character is not rocket science; it is revealed by words and actions. And words and actions have revealed much about us in these last few months.
Come what may, many of us are ready to move beyond the ugly past. Some will want to stay behind, and that is their choice. Some are angry and bitter today because the world is challenging their small notion of reality. But the rest of us—thank God—find ourselves in a better place, and we won't stop here.
I regret that my health made it impractical for me to be in Grant Park last night, sharing the cheers, the tears, and the pride with that crowd of beautiful Americans. It was a great, great moment for democracy, the human spirit, and maybe even the Universe.