Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm Back

I wasn't sure why I stopped writing here. I thought it might have something to do with my anxiety about the outcome of the presidential election. A few hours ago when it was announced that Obama had won, and I cried, I felt that I was ready to write here again.

My joy at Obama's election has little to do with the fact that I am black and he is black. Yes, I never thought I'd live to see a black man as president. But if a black
man had been elected tonight who shared John McCain's political philosophy, I would have cried for entirely different reasons.

My joy at Obama's election has much more to do with the fact that he is thoughtful and compassionate. As my daughter said on the phone a few minutes ago, "He's not a politician; he's a leader." And it has been a long, long time since we've had a leader in this country.

Now, there's a new anxiety which I'm sure I share with many. Will Obama be allowed to live until this night in 2012? There are forces in this country that hate him far more than I hate the present occupant of the White House. Will we once more have our hopes and dreams shattered by a bullet from a rifle? Or, will even those who are in as much despair tonight as I was on this night eight years ago and four years ago, will they come to see that Barack Obama is a decent man, a man who, in the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, "increase tenderness in the world."

I certainly hope so -- for my sake and theirs.

Julius Lester

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