Today my best friend from high school came to my house at 10:30 a.m. and we popped a cork and cried and toasted the new President of the United States. And made rude comments about the departing #43. And Jill Biden's mini-skirt and black boots. And Michelle's bowlegs. I have watched the weekend festivities, mainly on CNN (which is turning into the Cooper News Network, but that's a topic for another day. Or not). There was a subtle difference in the crowd shots behind the reporters or maybe it is just my imagination, but there is such joy and and pride and a sense of belonging in all those faces; a heads-up-and-shoulders-back look of confidence and being at ease. I watched a lot if MLK history yesterday and saw those sad little dull-eyed black children in the newsreels, and compared them with the faces on the children from the Ron Carlson Academy in Atlanta, and the contrast was stunning.
I was 4 or 5 years old in 1963 and I vaguely remember watching the 5:30 news with Walter Cronkite (like scripture in our house!) and seeing those same pictures, and knowing on some level that what was happening was wrong. Being from Lily White North Dakota, I had no concept of race. Later on I learned from my mother that she had been in Georgia during WWII, where she was working in the defense industry. She was riding on a bus, and protested to the driver when a young black woman was ordered to give up her seat for a white person. She told him that the woman's husband was wearing the same uniform as hers, and that woman had as much right to sit in that seat as she did. I think they both got tossed off the bus, but I was always very proud of my mother for standing up for that woman. It did not strike me until recently how courageous, and dangerous, an act that was, in the deep South in 1944, and wondered what possessed a skinny little girl from ND to speak up in that manner.
And now I am proud of our country for doing the right thing by looking past this gifted young man's color and making him our President, and I feel like I can stand up a little taller too.
Holy mackeral, I am older than the President of the United States. Shocking revelation.