A Transformational Moment

Originally posted November 5, 2008

I don’t inject politics here too often. Thoughtful readers can no doubt figure out the portion of the political arc where I find myself most comfortable. I’m a fairly liberal Democrat. (In Minnesota, that means being a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, an historic label that I like immensely.) As such, I’m pleased by the results from yesterday’s election – well, not entirely: a U.S. Senate race and a Congressional race here in Minnesota aren’t heading the directions I’d hoped.

But the election of Barack Obama as our next president was more important than politics. It was, I think, a transformational moment, a truly historic event. I’m not finding it easy to write about, as everything I think about saying this morning sounds trite or too much like a repetition of what I heard last evening. I think I’m better off summing election night by noting two images that will stay with me longer than the words of any of the reporters, anchorpersons or analysts:

First, the tears of joy on the face of Rev. Jesse Jackson as he waited in a crowd in Chicago’s Grant Park and saw a man with the same skin tones as his elected president of the United States.

Second, the celebration inside Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church as its parishioners and guests saw another portion of the dream of its one-time pastor – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – come to reality.

And maybe it’s a lack of imagination on my part, but – having wandered through the music collection this morning – I can’t think of any two songs more fitting for today than the two below:

“A Change Is Gonna Come” by San Cooke, RCA 8486 [1965]

“People Get Ready” by the Impressions, ABC-Paramount 10622 [1965]

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