I didn't expect it to come on so quickly. I was sitting in my hotel room here at Keesler AFB in Mississippi, in the heart of the old Confederacy, on the base where I watched the nation begin its long downward spiral, watching Obama's 30 minute video on my laptop and then turned my eyes up at the TV, which had the volume down, and saw a name and a number:
BARACK OBAMA 284
I stared in disbelief. Was I really reading it? Had it really happened? Am I really here, on this night, watching the end of this long national nightmare? Good god in heaven, have I really come full circle to the place where I watched the sun begin to set on my country only to watch day begin to break? Then it came on. Waterworks. I'm not ashamed to admit it; it was such a relief. More than one person in my life was talking about leaving the country if McCain won, and I was one of them. Looks like I'll be sticking around after all.
Goodbye to all of that.
Goodbye to Vietnam. Goodbye to our nation's original sin, to the permanent sense of fear which has gripped our nation since the planes struck the Twin Towers. Goodbye to the war on the middle class, to the excuses for not doing better for our citizens, to the notion of patriotism being a Republican value. Goodbye to the notion that a young man with the wrong colored skin being raised by a single mother doesn't have a chance in this country. Goodbye to the Confederate States of America, to Jefferson Davis and to George Wallace.
Goodbye to our past. Hello to our future.
But what does that future hold? We don't know, and that's the beautiful thing about it. Our future is wide open. We're no longer bound by the limitations of the past. What's past is prologue, but it's been gone over so many times. Tonight we've gained back something that we seemingly lost forever when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy died 40 years ago: