I too was moved despite myself. I realize the whole Democratic convention1 is scripted within inches of its life, but witnessing the Democratic Party actually nominate a black man for President was something I never would have expected happen, at least in my life time.
This evening, though, I watched something happen that I was solid sure would never happen in my lifetime, or probably my children’s lifetimes: A major American political party just nominated an African American as its candidate for the presidency of the United States — the big job, the Leader of the Free World, the whole enchilada.
Watching it on C-SPAN, I saw a closeup shot of an African American delegate after Nancy Pelosi banged the gavel down. She was hugging the delegate next to her (a white woman) And the tears were pouring down her cheeks.
I dunno, I guess that’s when it hit me — the enormity of what I’d just seen. It may not mean as much to you youngsters (get off my lawn!) but for someone of my age, who grew up in the dying days of segregation, who still remembers the colored and white drinking fountains and the monochrome lunch counters, who saw Washington DC burn the night Martin Luther King was killed — who, in some sense, has essentially spent his whole life living in the shadow of American racism, it was completely mindblowing. The party of Jefferson Davis and George Wallace (but also of FDR and Bobby Kennedy) had just chosen a black man as its standard bearer — and the Gods willing, as the country’s next leader.
I’m not quite old enough to remember colored and white drinking fountains, but I did live in Burkeville, Texas2 so witnessed first-hand plenty of vestiges of the Old South (the bone-crushingly racist South, if you don’t know)). I’m similar to billmon also in that I have conflicted feelings towards the Democratic Party: I am much more left than most party leaders, and yet I was proud of the Democrats last night.Footnotes: