Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A day that the Lord hath made

I've been cognizant of every presidential inauguration since John Kennedy, & I can say that there has been no day like this since Kennedy, & at ten am I can already tell from the crowd in D.C. that the spirit of this one is even greater. I'm tempted to walk up the street where over one-humdred people who are all delighted to have Obama take office will be watching a large TV together in the lunch room, but it's warm here & the coffee is better. I may stop by there between the ceremony & the parade.

This is a day I've dreamed of since Dr. King, & the martyrs of the civl rights movement in 1963 & 64, opened my eyes to the evil of racism. I did not become a "liberal." Rather, I realized that the defense of racism & segregation was not "conservative." I saw that being racist was a fundamentally wrong moral choice. It had no legitimate political, religious, or cultural justification. For a white American, choosing to not be racist was just the beginning of a long process. The only honest alternative was to be openly, unashamedly racist, not be two-faced about it, which was pretty much the middle class yankee way. I didn't think, "Oh, there will be a black president someday." But at that moment - I was teenager - while violence upon nonviolent demonstrators raged across the South, churches bombed & children murdered, there was an African-American child who would grow up to be the 44th president. I find that extraordinary.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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