The Bright Light of Hope

Tuesday’s election was a watershed event in the history of our country. I have been so impressed in the past two days by the response to Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American President. Commentators from all ends of the political spectrum have stopped their bickering just long enough to share the very human feelings of pride in our country, joy of it happening in our lifetime, and hope for us all. I’ve even seen a couple of far-right pundits shed a few tears when talking about the historic nature of this election. Most inspiring, though, has been to read African-American writers, like Alice Walker, as they try to find the words to match their overwhelming feelings.

Our elation is shared by people around the world. The cover of The Sun, from England, proclaimed under a picture of Obama: “One Giant Leap for Mankind.” The election of a black man as our president has helped to restore American’s image as a land of opportunity and allows people of all nations to nurture their own dreams of personal and national achievement.

I hope that we all take some time to reflect on the importance of this election. It will be difficult to stay in this moment with the economic problems that are overwhelming us all. But try to stay with this hope and idealism for as long as possible. It is important for us all to be able to raise our heads above the waters of our daily concerns to see the light that may guide us to a new day. This week we have been lifted up and we need to keep open this glimpse of “the promised land” of reconciliation between races and the possibilities of each individual to achieve his/her dreams.

It takes, unfortunately, a long-time for prejudice to fall. We have a long way to go to eliminate discrimination in our society (as this election also shows), but the good news this week is that our nation’s belief in equality for all eventually perseveres over the most engrained discrimination. We need to nourish this sprout of hope so that it will continue to grow and overcome the ever-present weeds of hate.

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