Election Day … Final Thoughts on Mom, Freedom and Apple Pie


Today is an amazing day, and I’m flooded with a range of emotions that range from excitement and sadness. My mother is in very critical condition in Nashville as a result of several complications including an heart attack. Mom’s heart stopped twice during the night, and the doctor has advised that I come home, which I probably will do in the morning.

I am struck this morning by how Obama lost his grandmother who raised him yesterday on this historic transition day, and I too am facing the illness of my mother who had looked forward to this Election Day for so long. For the last two years, mom has watched CNN day and night. She often told me how she loved “Brock” and how much she admired him. I couldn’t help but reflect on the significance of her passion for him when I considered that she had grown up in a culture that had called black people “niggers” and “colored people” well into my adulthood. I am not sure if mom ever voted, but I know what she wanted to happen. She saw greatness in a man who is African-American and whose name is Barrack Hussein Obama.

Despite my mom’s condition, I decided to stay in California today rather than go home because I knew how much my mom would want me to be here. I am going to cast my vote for the first African American nominee that she admired. I also am going to cast my vote against an attempt by people to remove freedom and rights from people by a simple majority vote. I was proud to cast my vote this morning for Barack Obama, and against Proposition 8. I also know that she believes all people deserve the right to pursue their own happiness, and I know I need to be here in California to declare my vote on the most important civil rights issue of my lifetime.

I have watched today as African-Americans left their voting booths with tears in their eyes because they thought that this day would never come. Today, it is upon us. A woman whose mother was a slave will cast her vote for Barack Obama, and all people everywhere who have been told that the color of their skin or the orientation of their sex will deterimine their lives I hope will finally emerge victorious.

As my mother lay barely holding on to life this morning, and as I witnessed the death of Barack Obama’s grandmother, and as I remembered the courage and love of the cloud of witnesses I celebrated on All Saints …

I am moved to an unusual passion and courage. If there is any discrimination or moral judgment among us, now is the time to repent of it. It’s time to embrace a new future where color, skin and sexual orientation no longer define a person but the content of their character. Those who resist it may win for day, but history will prove them wrong. It is not about the triumph of faith or morality — God always has that in His hands. Today is a day for freedom, a truly American day where we can celebrate — and ensure — that all of us can become who we desire to become in the world without the judgments of racism, homophobia and unjustified fear.

History never has been on the side of those who harbor prejudices and judgment against others. At least in America, history has been on the side of freedom. May it be true today, and always.

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