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I’m a registered Republican and will probably vote for McCain in November. Even so, yesterday seems to me one of the great days in American history. And it’s a great day in part because it all seems so ordinary: two candidates battled for a major-party nomination, and one of them came out on top, barely. That has happened before (mostly in Republican races—since, for most of its history, the Democratic Party required that its presidential nominees win two-thirds of all delegate votes, not a simple majority). But this time, the candidate who came out on top is a black man, and that hasn’t happened before.

I remember when Doug Wilder was inaugurated Virginia’s governor in January 1990: the first elected black governor in American history, inaugurated in the city that once served as the capital of a nation founded to preserve black slavery. Former Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, scion of Richmond’s white establishment, administered the oath of office. When Wilder had taken that oath, Powell leaned into the microphone and said: “It’s a great day for Virginia.” It was. Just as yesterday was a great day for the United States.


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Comments ( 5 )

Yesterday was a great day--if Obama turns out to be a good President.

If Obama turns out to be a lousy President, then it was a bad day.

Obama's skin color means nothing to me but it seems like right now we could use a steady hand at the wheel.

Obama's position on abortion should be a major concern to Christians.

Hi Bill,

I agree wholeheartedly with you and I usually vote Republican, too. As I watched this on TV last evening a certain chill came up my back with a feeling of pride that Americans would nominate a Black American for the highest office. And to think, that just 100 years ago we had a "separate, but equal" philosophy from Plessy v. Fergerson.

Something bothers me about the way people are discussing his nomination, and perhaps S or S could comment.

There have been any number of blog postings about the historic moment of Obama's nomination to run for president - as you note: But this time, the candidate who came out on top is a black man, and that hasn’t happened before.

Now, what is it exactly that makes Obama a "black man?" The only reason I can think is that he embraces being "black" in some way. But, I must think that, were I (as a Caucasian) were to embrace being "black," I would be laughed out of polls (assuming that I, too, had a Harvard degree, etc.). So, then, it's not purely a question of embracing culture. Nor does it seem to be a question of cheerleading for an end to racism and support for black culture (as Hillary may have done that as well).

Could it be that people are so excited about this moment because it's someone who has the physical racial characteristics of a black man has been nominated, and that therefore, "looking black" is no longer am impediment to nomination to a major public office?

I couldn't agree more -- irrespective of one's political leanings, liberal or conservative, the fact that one of the two predominant political parties has nominated a black man to run for President is a wonderful moment in our country's history.