What I worked on today and have ready to post here will have to wait, because I want others to read this. It is an email which my daughter Sarah just sent to her mom, her brother and sister, and me. Travis is Sarah’s husband, and they live in a very integrated neighborhood in Dallas. They have had Obama’s picture in their front window for months.
To: Family 11/05/08,7:05 Subject: What just happened
Travis just got home and we were sitting in the living room and the doorbell rang. It was a woman who lives down the street.
She came to our house to thank us. To thank…us.
Her name is Sheryl, and she is a 57 year old black woman who grew up in times of segregation. She told us about how she used to work at AT&T as an operator, and how people would not go into the bathroom with her, and how people would call and say they didn’t want to talk to a n***. She said that her parents would only be allowed into a neighborhood like ours to mow the lawn or clean the house. She said that her father supported a wife and six kids on $40 a week. She said that she never thought that she would see this day.
She cried on our front porch. And she thanked us. She said that Obama is not just for black people, he is for all Americans, and she can’t believe that these times are here when we can be one nation and move forward.
She stood on our front porch and she cried and she thanked us- for something that we did for ourselves! But for her, this is everything. I think I knew that. I mean, I think I knew how momentous this is, and I think I knew that this changes everything for many different reasons for many different people…but then the woman down the street came to our house and she cried and she thanked us…and I can see it more clearly than I could before. I won’t ever understand it the way that she does, and the way that so many Americans do, but she showed us a glimpse this evening. She showed us her heart and it was bleeding for the past and rejoicing for the future and it was everything that I want for us.
I can’t believe we did this. I can’t believe this time is here.
How many hundreds of thousands of times- how many million times- are versions of this story happening around the country today? This is one lady, one young couple, one neighborhood in one American city. But it is precisely and exactly why America is different today than it was yesterday.