Posts Tagged ‘participation’

Change. first slowly, then suddenly

November 4, 2008


today the US of A will vote for its first black president. ever.

few would have believed it as little as a year ago.

forty years ago, in the 1968 olympics, 2 athletes, Smith and Carlos, overtly challanged class power in the US. with a short, simple, silent, non-violent Black Power Salute. they were brave, but not liked. 40 years later, within their lifetimes, their previously scorned expression is now viewed as a brave statement.

They received their medals shoeless, but wearing black socks, to represent black poverty. Smith wore a black scarf around his neck to represent black pride. Carlos had his tracksuit top unzipped to show solidarity with all blue collar workers in the U.S. Furthermore, Carlos wore beads which he described “were for those individuals that were lynched, or killed that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred. It was for those thrown off the side of the boats in the middle passage.”

Today is a day of change

Too many hopes on the unproven shoulders of Obama. will he be able not to disappoint?

Yet, it is important to understand what Obama has already achieved.

Many american blacks voted for the first time in their lives. Lines in the Dixwell neighborhood of new haven today were very long. i suspect we will here more reports about people standing in line for hours, especially hispanic and afro-american neighborhoods, especially in ‘red’ states or districts, but also in very poor ‘blue’ neighborhoods.

things take time to change. the world changes slowly, then suddenly

Today the american republic has become more democratic (and Democratic). many first time voters by virtue of age, many first time voters by virtue of hope and participation. So

  • 220 years after the 3/5th compromise, (in which black slaves counted as 60% of a person for purposes of distribution (not collection) of taxes and apportionment of congressional power to each state),
  • 150 years since the civil war and black suffrage obtained through the XV amendment.
  • 40 years since the civil rights movement lead by Martin Luther King,

today, for many who have suffered for long, is the beginning of an age of hope.

and disappointment.

a new era has begun. perhaps enough change and good is achieved within a reasonable time period, despite great challenges.

but even if not, today is a great proof that all men are created equal.

land of the free and home of the brave.