Wednesday, January 14, 2009
An Event That Can Change The World
It is seldom that anyone lives to see an event that will change the world, but next Tuesday such an event will occur. For us in the United States, it will be a change in our president, something that happens every four years. Nothing special about that except that this time, for the first time in U.S. History, a black man will become President of the United States. For many of us old enough to have lived through the Civil Rights era of the 1950's and 1960's, it is the culmination of a historic struggle. History is about the struggles of peoples to liberate themselves from chains, ghettos or just plain ignorance.
But, the real historic event is in the way the people of color around the world will come to view the United States. No longer will the United States be only a land for the white race to reach the highest seat of government. This one image, a black President, will transform the world's view of the United States. That will be the real story next Tuesday all around the world.
Don't under estimate the effect this single event and image will have on the rest of the world. It may have taken this country a few hundred years to live up to its creed that all men are created equal, but next Tuesday there will be an event that will drive this point home. Not just here in the States, but around the world. The United States next Tuesday will change the world.
The above piece I wrote to a friend the other day. For those of you who did not grow up in the 1940’s, ‘50’s and ‘60’s, the election of a black man as President of the United States may not seem like such a big thing. However, if you are a student of history, you know what life was like for black Americans and other peoples of color in the United States before the 1970’s. I remember the University of Pittsburgh not being able to take a black member of their football team to a bowl game in the south. I remember visiting my aunt and cousin in Lexington, KY and seeing signs that read “White Only” and “colored” for things as simple as a drinking fountain. This country changed itself, and for this we all can be justly proud. It did not take an invasion by a foreign army for us to move our country in the direction of a more level playing field, we did this ourselves.
There has been a great deal of discussion about what measures will best bring our economy out of the recession. The details of the economic stimulus plan will become known after the Obama administration takes office. As I have said before, the economics of a stimulus plan is the easy part, the harder part will be the willingness of the politicians to put the good of the country first. Even in times of war, this is not always the case. Perhaps this time, with so many facets of our economy in trouble, the politicians will do the right thing and accept a stimulus plan that will meet the needs of the country. There are a lot of people without jobs that want to work. I sure hope that the well dressed politicians in their warm offices remember what it is like to be unemployed.