On Election Day 2008 America cast off the threadbare jacket of ethnic tolerance and wrapped itself in the new, warm mantle of acceptance, equality and justice.
Tolerance was the result of a movement in the 1960’s that involved anger, strife and violent protest. It was a necessary and valuable movement, it was a movement that I supported strongly at the time, but it was a movement that in the end divided a nation and resulted in laws that coerced tolerance.
Barack Obama started a movement that united a nation, united a people. Asked why he would not be critical of the opposition party, he asked in response that if he spoke only to members of his own party how could he reunite a country? He appealed to our better nature and he made us a better people. We looked at this man, we saw the color of his skin and we elected him President.
We, the people of this nation, chose this man.
In a moment of symbolism, it was no one state that put the electoral vote over the top. Immediately when the Pacific states polls closed, three states were called simultaneously and Obama was projected as the next President. That was a nice touch.
Better than the happy crowds was Jesse Jackson, standing silent gazing into the distance with tears streaming down his face. I can’t help but think he was seeing Dr. King, and all who marched with him and are no longer with us, finally at peace.
This, not tolerance, is what they marched for.