tonight and watched the coverage of the national election, and for
a good portion of it I didn't really react. The recent past has
shown that polls are unreliable, and coupled with my inherent view
of most people as small-minded and cruel, I didn't have much faith
that things would go the way I had hoped and voted for.
Still, I watched and waited and as the night went on things started
to look good, then really good. Before long it was pretty clear
that barring a huge upset there would be a moment of significant
American history happening.
At around 8:00 PM Pacific Time, the announcement came: Barack Obama
would be elected President of the United States of America.
Being someone who most days sees little to hope for in the world, I
must tell you this was a welcome change in my view of my country.
This election will be a moment remembered alongside the moon
landing, the Kennedy assassination, the Berlin Wall and other
significant slices of time where something truly momentous has
For me personally, this is one of the great moments of my life
where I see the future I hope for starting to emerge into
possibility. I have long seen the terrible faces of hatred, greed,
and apathy. Many days those faces were right in front of me. There
are the great monsters of humanity, men like Hitler, Pol Pot and
Stalin, that we all know and rightly despise. It is the smaller
monsters, the ones living next door, that we should be twice as
afraid of. Those who would kill others in the name of life. Those
who would look to isolate others who do not share their concept of
sexuality. Those who look upon whatever faith is not theirs and see
it as less. Those who view skin color as a reason to fear and hate.
These are the true threats to us as a race. The insane butchers
tend to be easier to spot, while the quiet rot of the basic evil of
man creeps ever closer.
Tonight marks a small but important step in the fight against that
disease. As a nation, we have now signaled that there is no place
in this country that any of us cannot go. Does this election mean
the end of racism? Unfortunately, no. As long as ignorance and fear
rule over reason and intelligence, racism can never die. But this
does mark a day where we have said as a nation that the idea that a
person is defined by appearance is past, that it is more important
to value a person for what they are than what they appear to
There's no way to predict the future, and indeed no guarantee that
Obama will fulfill the promise of his election. But even if he
fails as a President, there can be no denying what he has succeeded
in proving for us as a nation.