I shared with Hiroko last night as the electoral college votes locked in a victory for Barack Obama that this was the first time I can remember in at least eight years I was truly proud to be an American.
Obama has proven once again that Americans refuse to be victims of history, even their own. The grip of the withering hand of racism was loosened. Now my son, another child of two national heritages and two racial identities, can see in the eyes of his president an experience, a life not so very far removed from his own. Over dinner last night, even before the results were absolutely clear, Daniel explained in his five-year-old matter-of-factness that Obama had won. It was like him stating the sky is blue, water is wet, or God is good. In a profound moment, Daniel was stating an existential reality that many of us more jaded adults scarcely believed possible even a few months ago.
Obama is his president.
And I wonder at the mobilization of countless young people in this country who were not so very long ago written off as disinterested and apathetic. Some of them right here in the parish and community I serve poured enormous energy and countless hours into changing the electoral landscape of the country. Their success asserts that beyond all the cynicism of the last decade is the reality that we remain, fundamentally, a people of hope.
We have a leader now who apparently refuses to live out of a place of anger or fear. Who plants hope with a good dose of humility. Who admits his mistakes while carrying a vision for the future. Sure, our president-elect will not be perfect. He will sometimes disappoint me.
But he embodies and lives into a reality to which we are all called:
The world has changed. But we have a say in what tomorrow will be. It's time we claim that and act on it.
God be with him.