Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Take Down This Wall...

And so it came to pass that on Nov. 4, 2008, shortly after 11 p.m. Eastern time, the American Civil War ended, as a black man — Barack Hussein Obama — won enough electoral votes to become president of the United States.

A civil war that, in many ways, began at Bull Run, Virginia, on July 21, 1861, ended 147 years later via a ballot box in the very same state. For nothing more symbolically illustrated the final chapter of America’s Civil War than the fact that the Commonwealth of Virginia — the state that once exalted slavery and whose secession from the Union in 1861 gave the Confederacy both strategic weight and its commanding general — voted Democratic, thus assuring that Barack Obama would become the 44th president of the United States. - - New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman. Read more...

Slavery began in Virginia soon after the English colonists first settled in America around 1607 and lasted until the ratification of the thirteenth amendment to the US Constitution in 1865. Slavery was seen by many to be abhorrent as far back as the writing of the Constitution of the United States. That it was not abolished at that time, is a sad twist of fate which has caused much sorrow within our nation and has kept us from being truly great. In spite of the sentiment shared by many and expressed in Thomas Jefferson's words, acknowledging that "all men are created equal" slavery persisted as a compromise in hopes of forging a stronger union able to withstand the coming war for independence from England. And yet, after the war for Independence was fought and won, slavery endured for nearly 100 years more.

President Lincoln, in his campaign of 1860, challenged this compromise and campaigned against the expansion of slavery. His electoral victory was followed by seven Southern states declaring succession from the Union. The bitter war that ensued between the States, the deadliest in American history taking the lives of over 620,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilians, ended in 1865 bringing the official end of slavery in the United States. However it did not end the inhumanity that resulted from slavery and was followed by the Reconstruction of the South and then the hateful "Jim Crow" years. Inequality and injustice remained the written law of the land for nearly 100 years more. Changing the slavery laws of the land at the close of the civil war did not change the hearts of the people.

This unsettled issue of racial equality bore fruit to the civil-rights movement initiated with 1954 Supreme Court case of Brown v. the Board of Education. The struggles born out of the duplicity of our beliefs and our refusal to live out the "truths" we "hold to be self-evident" violated our national conscience and the nation could not rest as long as we enslaved any of our citizens in the bonds of inequality. The unrest of the civil-rights movement strained our nation again to it's limits. The sorrows of that era included the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert Kennedy, and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Many brave men and women, black and white, fought the predominance of discrimination at the risk of their very lives. Many strides toward equality were made through dedicated efforts.

Some fifty years past the Brown v. the Board of Education case and two hundred and thirty-two years after Thomas Jefferson penned the words within the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", we have elected an African-American as the 44th POTUS all the while many asked if our nation was ready for such a thing. So deeply run the scars of our inhumanity towards each other caused by slavery and the lack of respect for life that this injustice has wrought, we still today have to ask if we are ready for a black man to be president.

Maybe it is fitting that this man, son of a white woman from Kansas "the Free State" in the heart of America and a black man from the distant shores of Kenya in the continent from which slaves were brought to this land, should unite us in the understanding that all people are indeed created equal. The blood of both races flows through his veins. There is a symbolic justice and symmetry about Barack Hussein Obama II becoming the first black man to serve in the office of President of the United States signaling the final breaking down of the wall caused by the injustice of slavery.

Many will still ask this question and we may see difficult times in future days as our nation absorbs the significance of this election. It is my prayer that we as a nation and as individuals live out the words Thomas Jefferson was so ardent to add to the Declaration and that we embody the sentiment, "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." Our nation is a beacon set upon a hill and the eyes of the world are upon us. May the "someday that we shall overcome" be this very one.

And in the spirit of his campaign the people answered, "YES WE CAN!"

I confirm that I am a private citizen and in no way officially connected to the Barack Obama campaign other than personally being in support of the Obama candidacy. Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Buzz it up

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