I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to have cast this ballot today. The most important criterion, of course, for any cadidate for President of the United States is that he or she is qualified for the job, whatever that means to each of us individually. But for me, the second most important issue in this particular election is race. I was able to cast my ballot for a black man for President. What does that mean?
I am a privileged, white, middle class, male suburbanite. I know that my road has been an easy one. But I also feel the pain of the injustices my race has carried out on people of African descent. My ancestors participated in a culture of enslaving Africans for hundreds of years. They violently tore these people from their homes, families, religions and cultures, and forced them to work for the benefit of the white culture. Then when their conscience caught up with them, they fought a bloody civil war to have them freed. For 100 years after that they were still treated as lessor human beings. Finally they were given equality under law in the United States in the 1960s.
However, there has never been a process of reconciliation. There are still undercurrents of bitterness and distrust that permeate our culture and underlie our civic structures.
When Barack Hussein Obama is elected President of the United States, it will represent an enormous, symbolic step toward reconciliation. Equality under the law can no longer be considered empty rhetoric. The white majority in this country will have offered a tremendous gesture of good will toward the black minority. Structures of racial injustice and privilege that have existed for centuries will accelerate their inevitable collapse.
Obviously, there will still be much work to do. But for now, today, just VOTE!