I spent Sunday morning visiting black churches here in Newark and heard so many pastors, in poignant praise, illuminate our nation’s presidential choice in historical context. My own pastor spoke of years of struggle and tears, years of sacrifice and pain, years of faith amidst oceans of despair that WERE NOT IN VAIN. “Weeping may endure through the night but joy cometh in the morning.”
There is joy. There is joy for black Americans and white Americans; joy for all those who believe our country is a nation conceived in perfect ideals and called to a perfect mission but that has been in an unyielding struggle to address our imperfections.
We elected Barack Obama. The achievement is not simply that he is a black man but that he was the best candidate for the job selected for that reason and not rejected for his race.
For all of us who love America, such a time of jubilation and triumph must also be a time of sober focus on the work that must still be done to make our union more perfect. The promise of America is still not real for all Americans. The pledge we have all made and that millions of schoolchildren make every day — that we are “one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all” — is still one of aspiration.
Especially now — in this time of economic crisis, in this time of insecurity and worry, in a time in America where far too many face medical bills that cannot be paid and mortgages that cannot be sustained — we must take an honest stock as to what such a victory truly means.
Especially now — in this time of war, when our nation hemorrhages billions of dollars per month in an ill-conceived war; when the blood of great and heroic American soldiers flows into a foreign land at a more painful rate than any treasure we have spent; and at a time when our national torch of freedom, justice and truth, a once guiding light for many nations, has been obscured in the sight of our global friends — we must take an honest stock as to what such a victory truly means..
Especially now — in this time when we have too many children that go to school through the 8th grade yet only receive a 5th grade education; in this time when we have too many communities where violence trumps peace, where poverty punishes dreams of prosperity, and where individual hatred undermines collective love – we must take honest stock as to what such a victory truly means.
In a time of crisis past, the great Langston Hughes swore an oath to America that he would make real the promise of this country of hope…for more, click here.