In the days before the election, I knew it was likely that Obama would win, but I was hoping that he wouldn’t, even refusing to believe that he wouldn’t. In fact, I was still stuck on how the Democrats had managed to even nominate him. As much as Hilary Clinton’s values differ from mine, at least she has some experience. So, when Fox News announced that Obama had won, I was stunned.
What surprised me, though, was that there was a part of me that was proud that we elected an African American president. I was a child when the civil rights movement was at its peak in the 1960s, and I can remember some of the news reports about marches and crowds being sprayed with water. It didn’t mean a lot to me -- I wasn’t even 10 years old. I remember the riots after Martin Luther King, Jr’s death a bit better because the company where my dad worked in downtown DC was burned down during those riots. It took about ten years for the business to fully recover, though I wasn’t really aware of that at the time. Much has changed since the 1960s and it’s good to see how much closer we are to Martin Luther King Jr’s dream of a “a nation where [my four little children] will be not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” I think we have mostly reached the first half, if not the second; I remain uncertain of Obama’s character.
This is bringing back memories of the 1968 riots and a friend of mine has encouraged me to share my dad’s and my story about how the riots effected. I will post about that another time.