Tuesday

Chapters

In four years, when my son turns six, President Barack Obama will still be in office. If he's re-elected, President Obama will be in office until he's 10.

This is a really big deal.

Because I can't help but wonder what that will mean for the atmosphere of our country in the beginnings of my son's life and his entire generation. Because of the air of change this election will have brought and the way that people will begin to see each other.

Right now I ask my son who will become president today and he says to me simply and confidently, "Bock Bomma!" even though I am sure that he does not really know what that means. Before today, I would ask him who was president and he would say simply and confidently, "George Bush". He doesn't really know what "president" means and probably doesn't even understand the concept of "our country" and the giant physical land mass that makes up our country, not to mention that this country and land mass has a leader. But he does know our leader's name, and for now we'll just go with that.

He remembers now things that are immediate, but he doesn't necessarily commit things to long-term memory yet and scientifically I actually don't really know when that starts. So I am sure that for today, he won't remember the sea of millions standing shoulder to shoulder at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to hear our new president take the oath of office and make promises of hope to our country and the world. He won't remember the millions of flags waving proudly and choirs singing and the wall-to-wall television coverage. He won't remember the feeling that is history-in-the-making, and the way it makes you hopeful and teary-eyed and sends chills through your body.

But when he turns 6, what he will know is that for as long as he can remember, Barack Obama has been his president. And what that will mean is monumental.

Because my hope is that my son will not know a time where the color of someone's skin determined their destiny. My hope is that he will not know a time where a difference in color actually made a difference. My hope is that he will not know a time where color determined equality. He will know about a time when it did, but not by practice. He will know about the struggle, and he does not know this yet, but he will be a part of the ending.

Because on this day, through his two-year-old eyes, a man is a man, a woman is a woman and a child is a child. Regardless of what color their skin or eyes or hair is. Before now, a mother could only dream that their child would grow up and continue to see the world this way, because eventually their child would set out into the world and learn that many of the people in the world didn't always see things that way. And then a mother's dream would turn to hope that she'd have raised her child right and that they'd not be swayed by the people who see the world through black and white glasses.

I do believe that with each generation, our country is saying goodbye to a painful chapter in its history. That the racial divide is finally fading and our country has hit a true turning point. Because the unfortunate truth is that along with a history of democracy and freedom, our history, too, is riddled with racism and bigotry and struggle and inequality. Our country, like any marriage or any one person's life, has tales to tell of the best of times and the worst of times, made up of many proud moments and many, well, not so proud.


But as an American, today I am proud.

I am proud that my son will wake up when he is six years old and think that having a black president is the same as having a white president or a yellow president or a purple president. That no matter who our president is, he's our president. And I am proud that the same will go for his classmates, friends, teachers, bosses, and co-workers. That he will see people as people and not for their race.

I am proud to live in a time where our president was officially chosen based on his character and the inspiration he has incited in millions. Never have I seen a presidential candidate give so many people so much hope. Never have I seen a president and an election bring so many to happy, joyous tears. This is a truth that, no matter who you voted for, cannot be denied.

This presidency has been about change and I think change is going to be an understatement. Because simply put, this presidency will change the world my sons will be living in and the way in which they see it. And I'm proud to be a part of that.
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4 comments:

  1. I am proud too and looking forward to what is to come for the future of our country and the world.

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  2. First let me start by saying that I absolutely love this post!!!! I know way to many people that look at the world through black and white glasses. And alls they can do is complain about it (which after awhile really gets on your nerves)!!! I say if you can't change the world, then change with it!!! I am all about the change and look forward to our future as you do!!!

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  3. Beautiful post that puts into words what so many of us feel in our hearts. What a wonderful time in history to be raising up the next generation. Another chapter. One full of so much hope.

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