Today our new president steps up to the highest seat in the land. He is the first African American president to be elected to the office and he is the first president of mixed heritage. He is married with two daughters and a dog on the way. Obama represents every aspect of the American dream… moreso, he represents the epitome of the American ideal and our value system. That dream that says, “Anyone can grow up to be President.” He did and now everything has changed.
Obama represents hope. I’m not talking about hope for the economic upturn so many people expect and desire. I’m not talking about hope for transparency in government to return. No, I’m talking about a further reaching goal than simply the next eight years. I’m talking about the next eight decades. I’m talking about real, pervasive change.
The American Civil War – which (historically speaking) wasn’t initially instigated due to slavery at all, but was a fantastic PR move – ended in 1865. A hundred years later, give or take a year, the Civil Rights Movement began, culminating in the Protests of 1968. And now, fifty years after that, America has not only our first African American president but our first president from a mixed heritage.
It takes people time to adapt to true ideas. An idea for real, honest change is introduced and slowly takes hold of the general populace. You’ll have your old-timers who grew up a certain way and hold to the ideals of their youth but the rest of the world takes incremental steps forward until all the old ideas and the people who held them are dead.
Winston Churchill once said: “You “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”
Sometimes this is is true, sometimes not. But in many ways it’s how we as a country work. We like to experiment, to test our limits, to stretch ourselves and our ideals. We, as a nation, habitually seek three ideals – happiness, prosperity, and the next great thing.
It is my opinion that, given thirty or forty years and enough time for the Greatest Generation to meet their maker, the “next great thing” is going to be an openly homosexual individual in the White House. Following that, in another sixty or seventy years after that, I propose that we will see an openly non-traditional-gender-oriented individual at least make a run for the seat. And I think it’ll be accepted.
Why do I believe this? Why do I hold dear that we as a nation would accept an alternative to our “crusty old white man” policy? Simple – JFK wasn’t old and Obama isn’t white. We have used the past hundred years to flex and stretch ourselves, a country betwixt and between the next great thing. We are growing more open-minded, more openhearted, and less interested in money itself and more interested in the opportunities wealth affords us for giving back, for being gracious and kind.
Essentially, I think that we as a nation are growing up. I believe that – given enough time – we will eventually learn to accept everyone no matter what color of their skin, what clothing they wear, or what gender they claim.
All we need… is time.