Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Living History

Tonight's primaries in South Dakota and Montana saw Barack Obama cross the 2,118 delegate threshold and claim victory in the (seemingly interminable) Democratic presidential contest. As I sat watching the returns, with Hamza sitting on my lap, and saw the networks announce Obama as the presumptive nominee, I was suddenly gripped by the historic import of this moment.

Tonight we told the rest of the world that in America -- despite centuries of ingrained, institutional racism, despite the fractured, divisive politics of fear -- it's possible for a black man named Barack Hussein Obama to have better than even odds at winning the highest office in the land. This represents a profound, permanent shift in the socio-political landscape, and even though Hamza is too young to understand it, it will forever shape his experience of the world.

What happens in the weeks and months ahead is fodder for another discussion and another time, but for now let's savor the moment. And what a moment.

1 comment:

Fawaz said...

Well put Zaki...I don't think it's hit me yet..that black man has a real chance to become the next US president. It's something I don't think people thought possible just a few years ago. I think it will change, dramatically, what the rest of the world thinks of America. A few years ago a lot of people wouldn't have cared what the rest of the world thought of America, maybe a few years ago it didn't matter. Now, in this time, I think it does make a huge difference. I think this country, with a man like Obama as president, can play a part and help to lead the world in facing and solving a lot of global problems and now face ALL of us. I'm glad my kids are here to see this happen. I just pray that he becomes president, cause if he doesn't, I think all of this will be forgotten.