Tonight, like so many other people, I cried. I have seen many amazing things in my life so far but this overwhelms me. I have never been more proud to be an American, or a Chicagoan, for that matter, than I am tonight.
Now, I'm thinking about the message of this historic moment:
I'm thinking about what it says about any culture whose constitution was once stained by the evils of slavery and whose reference to a "more perfect union" has now just elected its first Black president in US history. I think about how Black slaves once built the White House with their sweat and muscle and now a Black man will be living inside the same house with his family as the 44th president. I'm thinking about what message we give the world by celebrating the rich and turbulent multiculturalism that has always been the spine of our great democratic experiment, placing it front and center of the country again instead of pretending there is no such thing as race or that we are suddenly post-racial, which is surely a lie unfit for the complexities of our country. I think about the message Barack Obama, now the President Elect, gave all citizens when he told us "I need your help," words probably never uttered before by a President. I think about the message that Kenyans, African-Americans and minorities will see for the rest of the lives in the remarkable story of Obama, a native son and now a symbol of the American Dream after 200 years with a white-washed executive branch. Think about that: there was once a time when a black face meant slave. Now Obama´s face means American to every society in the world. I think about what I'll tell my kids someday, how cynicism and fear are formidable barriers to our growth but still no match to the collusion of intelligence and hope, to the power of numbers and the strength of our own determination. I think about the message that Barack Obama's victory gives a little black child growing up in a broken down city and every person who has ever fallen through the cracks. I think about how no one, no matter how malicious or myopic, will ever be able to tell that little boy that he cannot be anything he damn well pleases if he sets his mind to it.
Above all else, I think about what this election says to the deepest, boldest and most evolved parts of our selves that has always believed in our shared humanity, a humanity we ignore every time use words as epées, hatred as magnets, and apathy as a consolation for disconnection.
You can tell us what you like, but you can´t tell us we drink cool-aid or that this dream is impossible anymore because it has already happened, history has been made and we are already awake. In 2008 we stopped sleep-walking and we became a nation again.