Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My son the president

I woke up this morning. I woke up my five-year-old son; got him fed and ready for school. As we moved about the house, I casually as possible mentioned that Barack Obama would be the next president of the United States. He was excited - primarily because he claimed he had called it. We walked quietly to the corner to meet his school bus. I felt like I should say something poignant to him, but I could think of nothing. I could only squeeze his hand a little tighter than usual.

I had not expected anything to look different this morning, and of course nothing did. The streets in my development were quiet, a few school children were walking to meet friends, a few cars were driving out of their garages, and there was evidence that garbage trucks had passed by a few moments earlier. But I certainly felt different. I realized that the little American-born boy walking beside me will grow up with a different view of the world than the generation of Americans before him. He will grow up much like his parents did in Jamaica - not seeing any limits to his potential, or seeing the color of his skin as anything but biology.

I have sense enough to know that the election of my choice for president does not automatically improve the economy, end the war in Iraq, provide affordable and comprehensive healthcare to every one that needs it, or give every child access to their full potential. I know that the election of the country's first black president, while monumental, will not immediately erase the history or presence of racism. I voted for Senator Obama because I believe in his abilities and see sense in his plans for the country; but I know the country is in a crisis and it will be an uphill battle to right all that is wrong. President-Elect Obama himself said that correcting the country's course may take more than a year, or even a term.

While we wait for the fiscal improvements to the country, I am overjoyed at the steps we have made as a nation. My toddler boys will come to believe that nothing is out of their reach. For that I am grateful. At the end of President Obama's first term in office they will be 8 and 9 years old. They may never know that there was ever a question that a black man could be president. For that I am elated. Now their racial heritage of kings and queens, engineers of the pyramids of Egypt and the beginning of all mankind will not seem so far removed. For that I am proud.

1 comment:

  1. As usual, I could not have stated that any better. My sons are older than yours and we were able to have more insightful conversations about the election. We were able to communicate to them why we felt so proud yet cried at the momentous occasion. If we believe we can yet achieve, is no longer a slogan or catch phrase but a reality!