January 19th, 2009

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Martin Luther King and the Dream

The  juxtaposition of Martin Luther King Day and the inauguration of our first African-American president tomorrow is so packed with meaning--with joy, with fear (that something will  go wrong), with hope, with sadness (how long it took, how much racism remains) that I can't begin to say all I feel.  

I'm one of those white women over forty who was presumed not to be an Obama supporter....but I was and am.   There were others of us.

I've been called a fool for voting for Obama.  Tough noogies.   I'd rather be a fool for that, than the other way.

Do I wish a woman had been elected?  Sure.  My pick over the last thirty years would've been Barbara Jordan--black, female, brilliant on Constitutional issues and governmental ethics, wonderful speaker, would have made an outstanding president, and we could have gotten over two hurdles at once--but she died too young.   Right now, this year, Obama is the best we have.  Whether he can pull off a miracle after the godawful mess Bush has left behind, trashing this country in almost every possible way from the natural resources on up,  I don't know--but at least he'll quit digging the same hole.

Is King's dream fulfilled?   No.  Not yet.  Not while people you think of as decent, ordinary folk can make remarks like the ones I've heard about Obama.   But it's a step on the road, and a very important one.

I have a dream, too.   I dream that we will get through this next presidency without violence, without rancor, and that someday only competence and character will matter...not gender, not race.

Meanwhile...I had hoped to see this kind of day--when one hero is remembered by the fulfillment of part of his dream--but didn't really expect it in my lifetime.