I was overjoyed last night and even this morning about the election of Barack Obama. So much has happened in eight years, and for it all to culminate in this defining moment, was well worth the wait. I felt a since of pride and happiness, that is, until I went to school. The campus seemed to haved had an eerily melancholy mood. There were so many sad and long faces, apparently disappointed in the loss for John McCain. That is fine, and loyal Republicans are entitled to feel that sentiment. However, there is a stark difference between disappointment for your candidate's loss and exhibiting utter disgust for the prospect that a black person will be your president. And what was I to expect? The nastiness coming from the McCain campaign and Fox News more or less tried to label Obama a terrorist, a socialist, a Muslim, a radical, a "scary" and "risky." So, sure, I can understand why those who believed all the lies and never bothered to research would be a little upset today.
Then, I entered the law school, and there was tension in the "air." People congregated in their separate corners to complain and then would awkwardly change conversation topic once an African American student would enter their vicinity. I thought we have dealt with this? Didn't this campaign make it okay to talk about race outloud? Adding to all this, numerous people have chosen to use Facebook to voice very hateful opinions. It is, as I told a friend, as would imagine many felt the day after the Civil War. It is like there has been a huge front to Southern heritage and culture that an African American has assumed the presidency. Now, clearly, this is not the feeling of ALL Southerners, but if you are honest with yourself and consider all of your southern associates and southern families, you will have to concede that somebody is burning in the gut today that their country's new leader is a black man. Mississippi's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. They cling to their strong heritage and cultural past with such a endearing white-knuckled grasp that it makes it very difficult for them to easily progress into a new future.
Obama's election is not a personal victory for African Americans. It is a notable triumph in African American history. But there is no way it could have happened if people of all races, ages, and backgrounds did not back this candidate. President Obama is our president in the truest sense. He is both black and white, and isn't that symbolic of the resolution it was going to take to bring us together. He represents Americans, each and every one of us.
African American students at Ole Miss should not have to hide their respective and understandable joy that a black person is president. Obama will be an inspiration to millions of black kids around the world as an example of what anyone can achieve. Moreover, white students who supported Obama should also be able to be excited about their candidate winning. Again, this is not a personal victory for individual African Americans, but it is a historic moment in American history. McCain supporters should rightfully feel some frustration. But no one should be affraid of having a black president.