As I begin to write, shortly after 8:00pmCDT, CNN is telling the world that Barack Obama has amassed sufficient delegates to clinch the Democratic party’s nomination for president of the United States.
As an interested observer of history, notwithstanding whatever personal feelings one might have or not about Obama the candidate, one cannot help but be quietly amazed at this turn of events, once so unlikely and tonight so inevitable.
I was born in 1948. Yeah, okay, old enough to be your grandfather, perhaps. But, take it from me, 1948 was not that long ago.
In 1948 racial segregation was a fact of life for most African Americans. That year, President Harry Truman signed an executive order ending racial segregation in the U.S. armed forces, although it took several more years to take effect throughout the military. Less than a year before I was born, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play for a major league baseball team. Today, we take for granted our integrated military force, and our integrated sports teams, in fact both would be curiously empty otherwise.
Now, a majority of voters in this endless Democratic primary season that began 18 months ago after the mid-term election of 2006, have chosen an African American candidate to campaign for the U.S. presidency in November.