There have been a number of significant events in my lifetime that personally changed or affected me such as the tragic losses of John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lennon. And there have also been the joyful moments including seeing an American astronaut walk on the moon, my marriage, the birth of my two sons, and seeing my first book published.
Growing up as a son of the South, I witnessed bigotry and hate—I still remember signs declaring “Whites Only”. As an adult, I discovered that prejudice wasn’t exclusive to the Deep South. But as Mr. Dylan sang, “The Times, They Are A Changin’”.
At 11:00 PM on Tuesday night, an African American was elected to the highest office in America. Barack Obama was not appointed nor did he inherit the Presidency. He won it. And this may prove to be the biggest milestone in my life. Because it tells me that people can change. Countries can change. Times and thinking, and the world can change. It tells me that we have matured as a nation.
There was a time when I would have bet this day would never come. But it has. And if we can collectively change our hearts and minds like we did on Election Day, what other great things can we do?
President-elect Barack Obama is about to set sail on a great journey. Soon he will step onto the bridge, take command and set a new course. We are all passengers on this great ship of America. I wish him fair winds.