In our home there were tears of happiness last night at 10:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.
It means a lot to me personally that an African American is now president-elect. It is a visible reminder to me of what I believe is best about the "American system."
I am inspired to have a president who -- FINALLY -- is not afraid to remind Americans that they need to make sacrifices. Who does not see his own election as "change," but merely as an opportunity for change. Who seems to understand that real change takes consensus and cooperation and consistent effort.
But Obama's victory does not -- it cannot possibly -- mean to me personally what it means to my husband, an African American, and our immediate and extended family and friends who are African American. I can see it in his eyes, and hear it in his voice. In the excitement and happiness he couldn't conceal if he tried. This victory means everything to him.
And for those of us who are not African American, it should mean at least this much: that our African American loved ones, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and fellow citizens are that much uplifted by this victory. That their lives have a chance of being better because of this. That their hopes have finally been elevated to this level. That their stake in this country which belongs to us all is finally increased to something that looks and feels like equality.
The tears in my eyes right now as I reflect on this are only for the fact that this wasn't much, much sooner in coming.
Praise God Almighty! At last.