I remember when...

It's weird to think in the moment, "Man, I am actually watching history take place. I am experiencing something that is soon going to be in textbooks and will be study 1,000 years from now or more." There have been a few events like that in my 32 years on this planet. There have also been some minor events that people remember vividly but might not ever be included in a history book.

I remember on November 9th, 1989 when the people of East and West Germany were finally free to pass back and forth because they tore down the Berlin Wall. Heck, I remember movies based on the split within that city (anybody ever seen Anthony Edwards in Gotcha! because it's a horribly great movie).

I remember January 28th, 1986 when the space shuttle, Challenger exploded. We had to watch the news coverage in school (I was 9 years old).

Of course I will never forget the morning of September 11th, 2001. I got up and was on my way to the Young Life office. I got in my car, turned on the radio to what was normally a comedy show. It was eerily somber. They were reporting on a plane crash in New York City. I didn't really get what they were talking about until one of them yelled that another plane had just crashed at the same spot. Needless to say, I didn't do much work that day.

Minor events that I remember and that have made it into pop culture sort of history would be things like Kirk Gibson's home run in game 1 of the 1988 World Series. I remember Kerry Strug's vault at the 1996 Olympic games basically done perfectly on one leg.

Last night was an historic event that I am so glad I got to be a part of. Not that racism is dead in this country or anywhere in the world, but an amazing step was taken last night by one of history's biggest proponents of racially based slavery. We elected an African American as president. I know that this country was sharply divided in this election, and this divide was evident as John McCain tried to graciously concede as well as to remind us all that we are united and that we can and should unite (as he was going to do) behind our new president elect and his supporters began to boo incessantly when the new president and vice-president's names were mentioned.

An amazing thing happened last night, but we have so much more ground to cover and more history to see being made... or to perhaps make it ourselves.


Keith W said...

Amen... I can say that last night was a great night for America, no matter what side of the policy fence you are on (I'm on the fence.... but hey, that's a different discussion).


Teresa said...

Hi Dave,

I can't believe I'm actually commenting, but I want to say a couple things. First, to say that McCain supporters were "booing incessantly" is a gross exaggeration. I heard the concession and there was (unfortunately) booing, but it was definately nowhere near "incessant."
Secondly, I certainly hope you are not implying that McCain supporters are somehow furthering racism in this county because they did not vote for Obama. I don't think you are, but truthfully I'm really tired of hearing people allude to this ridiculous notion.

I believe that only time will tell if last night was in fact a great night for America, and that will be based on the quality of the person we elected, NOT merely the color of his skin.
Likewise, its wrong to assume that any "change" will be a "good change" for our country. I wholeheartedly hope that Obama brings GOOD change to our nation. I hope that there is more to him than glossy feel-good rhetoric and charisma. I hope he earns the love and respect and trust that has already been so freely given him, and that we can look back on this time decades from now and say it was a GREAT moment in history not soley because we elected the first black president, but because we elected a GREAT black president.

A Modern Ancient said...

I watched McCain's speech on youtube again today and I will admit that "incessantly" might be a bit of exaggeration but I would defend the notion that it was not sporadic or occasional. There might not have been incessant, continual booing, but there was definitely booing as well as a number of people calling out negative things. There was also a number calling out positive things that it took a second look at it for me to hear that they shouted encouragements to McCain. So, "incessant" is overdoing it, but it was not necessarily a "gross" exaggeration.

I hope no one reads that I am calling anyone who voted for McCain a "racist". I actually like John McCain. I just disagree with many of his policies and I was really disappointed in the amount of negativity and demonizing that came out of his campaign. I think that demonization is what led to the booing and negative shouts (not the positive ones) and I also think it backfired on his entire campaign.

Basically, I don't think John McCain campaigned as John McCain. He succumbed to the party base (who would have voted for him no matter what) rather than continuing his pattern of crossing the aisle.

I agree that only time will tell on any president... or anyone for that matter. I think the "greatness" of last night, as a single experience, was that a barrier was broken. Now, if Obama performs poorly then I am not sure the African American community will be too happy that he was the first black president. But I do think that a couple of things happened just by him being elected:

1) World perception of the U.S. has skyrocketed towards the positive (this has been all over NPR today).

2) A barrier was broken (see above).

3) The majority of Americans have a small sense of hope.

I agree that we shouldn't give Obama a blank check of trust or gloss over any mistakes that he has or will make. I am expectant of what this change might look like. I am not fearful and nor am I thinking a new savior has come. I am hopeful and expectant.