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Thursday, November 06, 2008His Dream Came True
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
Last spring I sat with some Arab friends discussing Barak Obama and how I felt he was going to be our next president. My friends strongly disagreed with me they felt that the USA would never get past the issue of Obama's race. I felt differently and argued that as nation I felt we were past that. That we were ready for a change granted what had been going on in our country. In the end we would choose what we felt was best for our country.No matter what I said I was shouted down, “Never” they’d shouted, “He will never be president. Americans will never elect a black man president.” I remember telling them that on Nov 4th they’d be eating those words.
I raced from school to watch the election results making it in time to hear the local anchorman declare Obama the winner. My entire neighborhood seemed to burst into a collective cheer. It was like the Yankees winning the series, the ball dropping in Times Square. I choked up when an African-American reporter struggled to keep it together on camera saying that as a child his father had always told him that there would never be a black president and the reporter thanked the country for proving his father wrong. I got goose bumps and felt a lump in my throat. I didn’t know why but I started to cry and as I watched the television screen and I saw I wasn't alone. People were openly weeping all over Times Square and Harlem.
I watched my mother as she wiped a few tears away. When she saw I was looking at her mom smiled and quoted some of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have A Dream” speech. “Mia, Dr. King’s dream came true.” Before I could respond my phone went crazy. I have a huge assortment of friends all over the world and they wanted to share in my joy and let me know how their countrymen were reacting. My friend in Spain called to tell me people were crying, cheering and chanting USA, USA!in the streets. A friend in France text messaged me with the news that in France people were cheering as well. Imagine that the French were actually cheering something America had done. Be still my foolish heart. A friend from England called, “Baby, it’s crazy out here", and held his phone up so I could hear the cheering going on around him.
None of my local Arab friends called so I text messaged and reminded them of what they’d shouted at me several months ago. I text messaged all of them, “would you like a glass of water ? I wouldn’t want you to choke as you swallow your words. By the way what do they taste like?” Yeah I'm mean like that.
I’ve always been proud to be an American but today I am just a little prouder than usual I’m standing a little taller. Last a dream came true, history was made in a country where brother had fought against brother because of slavery, in a country where simply being black was a good enough reason to be lynched. Last night this nation finally turned its back on the past and decided it was time to move forward. The man chosen to lead the way for us was judged by the content of his character and not the color of his skin. Dr. King would be so proud of us all.
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