I am still stunned by what transpired less than two weeks ago. I did not expect that Obama would get this far. I didn’t think it would be possible, no matter how good of a campaigner, no matter how eloquent or inspiring he is before an audience, no matter how much money he was able to attract–I just didn’t think that this was the time in our history where enough of us would be willing or able to get passed race in order to vote for him. I did not realize how brilliant the man was–is. It is startling to look back at his rise before the presidential race, then into the primaries and the general election. I did not realize how brilliant would be the strategy that has barely wavered from its initial bent–staying on message, keeping it civil, appealing to the middle class, faulting the Bush Administration for a host of ills stemming from disastrous policies that include those giving rise to the current financial crisis.
And as it is beginning to seem and feel real, I think the magnitude is beginning to dawn on me. “Historic moment”, “we have come a long way”, “unprecedented time in history”–that is what they will say as the motorcade moves down Pennsylvania Avenue, as his right hand raises while his other rests on the Bible to take the oath of office. It makes me think of July 20, 1969, the day that my father came outside to find me, led me inside and sat me down in front of the TV to watch Neil Armstrong step down onto the moon. It is another moon landing. The two are equally unfathomable-that a man should make it to the moon; that a black man gets elected to the highest office in the land-the Leader of the Free World.
We have already agreed that we will take Ty to the inauguration. He is too young to remember and by the end of January he may not be with us–so we may not be able to sit around when he is older and reminisce about that day. But we can and will take pictures-lots of them. We will make sure that his family has them in the hopes that some day when he is a man, he can look back at the day and say, I was there.
It is time for all of us who can, to descend upon Washington, D.C. There will never again be a moment like this. It is the “I Have a Dream” speech moment of our generation. Bring your children and your grandparents and take pictures of this day. It will always be, an “I was there” moment. I was there the day that a black man was elected the President of these United States.