Two bloggers wrote posts that illustrated to me just how far we've come. This was written by Kvatch, who plans on voting for Barack Obama precisely because he's black:
Now before you get yourself in a tizzy—screaming at me about reverse racism or how I’ve reduced Obama down to one banal fact—think about this: The one inescapable truth is that Obama’s perspective as president will be different than all who’ve preceded him, a truth that applies equally well to Senator Clinton. These presidential candidates simply aren’t crusty old white guys. Their experience and their outlook are fundamentally different than a Bush, or a Reagan, a Kennedy, or a Johnson.For all the change Obama represents, Ezra Klein is surprised by how predictable and normal it feels.
Whether or not Obama brings change is unimportant. He is change.
Obama's speech tonight was powerful, but then, most all of his speeches are. This address stood out less than I expected. It took me an hour to realize how extraordinary that was. I had just watched an African-American capture the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America, and it felt...normal. Almost predictable. 50 years ago, African Americans often couldn't vote, and dozens died in the fight to ensure them the franchise. African-Americans couldn't use the same water fountains or rest rooms as white Americans. Black children often couldn't attend the same schools as white children. Employers could discriminate based on race. 50 years ago, African Americans occupied, in effect, a second, and lesser, country. Today, an African-American man may well become the president of the whole country, and it feels almost normal.We're not perfect yet, but we've come a long way.
It was, to be sure, not entirely unpredicted. On March 31st, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. preached his final Sunday sermon. "We shall overcome," he said, "because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Four days later, he was murdered. But 40 years later, his dream is more alive than he could have ever imagined. Not only might a black man be president, but at times, many forget to even be surprised by it.
(Cross-posted at BFM.)