Aside from the political hullabaloo surrounding the 2008 presidential election, we all were able to witness America elect a black president. Many thought they would never see it in their lifetime. Others perished at the thought. Some prayed, wished and hoped it would happen. Yet low and behold it has happened 138 years after black men were given the right to vote and 92 years after women were given the same right. It wasn't that long ago segregation was in place. In some ways it took so long. In other ways many of those scars are still very fresh.
However, this campaign was not about race. Far from it. Actually, John McCain made a wonderful concession speech Tuesday evening as well. He knew he was up against a formidable opponent and was obviously aware of the hit the GOP had taken from the current president. It was an uphill battle for McCain from the start, and there are many other people who will dissect his campaign decisions. You could see the pain in his eyes. Being so close to something he wanted for so long only to lose. If you didn't feel disappointed for the man, regardless your political affiliation, something is wrong.
Then you witnessed the faces, of all races, cheering Obama in Chicago. You saw Dr. Martin Luther King's church in Atlanta and the joy over their faces. The next day you read or watched the emotional outpouring from the entire world. Watching all of this, you realized how monumental this was for our country. Not just because Barack Obama became our president, but because of the strides blacks have taken in this country, this long journey which just took its next huge leap.
I did not vote for Barack Obama because he is black. I did not vote for Barack Obama because he is democrat. I voted for Obama because I believe in his ideals for this country and he is the best man for this job and our future.
I was emotionally moved because since I can remember I have been very cognizant of bigotry, of racism, or sexism. I am not sure what shaped this. Perhaps it has been friendships I have had over the years. Perhaps it was my upbringing. Maybe it was people who were unlike me, accepting me. I believe in people and have faith in our country. More so now than ever. We still have racists and bigots in all forms. There are still people who voted for McCain strictly because he was white and there are people who strictly voted for Obama because he was black. This line of thinking will unfortunately always be with us, but I believe we are making tremendous strides as a country.
Whatever Barack Obama does in office may not have immediate impact. If he is fortunate enough to earn a second term, maybe we still won't totally feel his impact. The educated guess is the positive effects of this election will be felt years and years to come.