I was not able to watch the inauguration live, today, as I had to work. So, tonight, I watched, and cried, and shouted “Hallelujah.”
I was born and raised in California. I knew little about the struggles for equality in the South. My mother was, and still is, a Democrat, with strongly held views. She raised me to be color-blind. It was easy in Southern California at the time.
Then I joined the USWAC, and went to Ft. McClellan, Alabama. This was 1967. I went through Basic Training with women from all over the country, in all shades of poor.
On the base, racial discrimination was subtle. Off base, it was overt. I had never seen “Whites Only” restaurants, bathrooms, and drinking fountains, before, and was completely astounded. I did not understand. I truly did not. I was color-blind.
My daughter inherited my color-blindness, and I have three 1/2 black grandchildren.
When my first grandchild was born 11 years ago, I worried about the prejudices she would have to face in her life. I worried about what opportunities she would miss, because of her heritage. When Barak Obama was elected, I rejoiced with much of the nation, but particularly for my grandchildren. I did not want them to experience the discrimination that I had witnessed.
I was in the Watts Riots of the early 60’s with some black friends. I witnessed the hatred of the blacks towards the whites, and feared for my life. Now, over 40 years later, I have been privileged to watch as at least these two races have come together to find common ground. I have been honored to live long enough to witness the election of a 1/2 black, 1/2 white United States President and feel joy and hope. I feel as if our nation can again be the example to the world of humanity, compassion, and dreams made possible.
If we can come this far, in my lifetime, I KNOW that my children will live long enough to see the coming together of Christians, and Jews, and Muslims, and Hindus, and all religions. Because if we can elect Barack Hussein Obama President of the United States, anything is possible.
I choose to believe and spread hope that this world can live as one, and in peace, as Mahatma Gandi, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, and John Lennon, among SO many others have taught us.