President ObamaSeeing Rep. John Lewis basically speechless a few minutes ago brought to mind a number of things that have been running through my head the last few days. I think John Lewis was one of the guys that sat in at the Krystal restaurant in Nashville (before the Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins) in 1960 trying to get served - the restaurant was cleared and the manager turned the heat all the way up and then filled the restaurant with insecticide trying to get rid of the protesters, while in the meantime, Dad was in the back (while working for Sunbeam Bread) pulling hamburger buns out since they weren't going to be sold. In the meantime, my paternal grandfather was driving a Nashville city bus out to Fisk University where of course the students had to sit in the back of the bus.
I went to a majority black elementary school in Nashville growing up - when busing was instituted after my 5th grade year, I was bused to a whiter school than I'd been attending. Before then, my first real memories of US politics was the 1968 Presidential election, which I mostly remember for being against George Wallace (who my grandfather was for) and for Hubert Humphrey (who both my parents were enthusiastically for) - I have to admit that Richard Nixon was just an afterthought.
What might be most significant is that I've thought very little about race when it came to this campaign - it's been a matter of ideas and policies, not the color of the candidates. The most incredible thing about this whole election is that I think that's been the case for most Americans, and that says something quite wonderful and a little unbelievable about how far we've come in my lifetime. As I watch President-elect Obama speaking at Grant Park in Chicago and reflect on Kay Hagan's victory over Liddy Dole, I've never been prouder of my country and my fellow countrymen.
The champagne is flowing and I'm a happy guy.