Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An Ode to Tomorrow [truthout]

t r u t h o u t | An Ode to Tomorrow
Though the future is yet unknowable, let us for a moment imagine that when we wake tomorrow it will be a new day in America.

Let us appreciate the poetry that once upon a time, a one-term congressman from Illinois became president of the United States and freed four million African slaves and, 145 years later, an African-American first-term senator from Illinois - borne not of the rapacious legacy of that compulsory migration but rather of a voluntary choice by two adults - should become president of that same land.

Let us imagine that a nation once built on the scarred backs of black Africans could, in arguably her darkest hour since, be rescued by the son of a Kenyan exchange student and a white American woman from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Let us imagine that that man and woman could have met and married amid the sweltering heat of Jim Crow America and, just two weeks before the courageous freedom rides of 1961, produced a child whose very birth would seem a hopeful reminder of America's long-deferred promises - of racial harmony, of social courage, and of the power of love to free us from the shackles of our self-annihilating prejudice.

Let us imagine still that that young child should, through hard work and self-acknowledged providence, have become the figure of serenity, fortitude, vision and grace who has stood before us for 23 long months and kept his dignity.

Let us imagine that beside that graceful man has walked his true and intrepid partner, co-parent of two confident and glowing children, who likewise has conducted herself with poise, substance and candor - cognizant of, yet unspoiled by, the toxic air of Washington...

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