I was ten months old but living only a few blocks away from the Lincoln Memorial the day a quarter of a million civil rights protesters most famously marched on Washington. My dad had walked over to the Mall early so by the afternoon, feeling guilty about leaving my mom alone with a howling baby, he headed home to keep her company and so missed hearing what is generally considered to be the greatest speech of this century.
Nevertheless, as the first generation of black kids to grow up post segregation, when Dr. King spoke of, "little black boys and little black girls," joining hands with "little white boys and little white girls," I grew up assuming that he was talking about me. Growing up in the 70s and weaned on p.c., multi-cultural propaganda like Zoom and The Electric Company, I saw the whole world as one big rainbow coalition and figured King's dream would be realized before I graduated high school.
Instead, the 1980s brought Ronald Reagan railing against "welfare queens." I put King's dream on hold and although I had been raised in mainly white neighborhoods all my life, I opted to stay in the black-theme house, Ujamaa, at Stanford.
I'm a year younger than Senator Obama and I'm sure, like the Senator, have memorized most all of Reverend King's speech, but oddly, I don't think I ever seriously contemplated the possibility of being elected President of the United States.
Don't get me wrong, I've had other very grand dreams and already realized many of them (I've still got time for my Pulitzer, my Nobel and a date with Angelina Jolie).
Where we differ is that after the 80s I don't think I ever had enough faith in the colorblind goodwill of mainstream America to elect me President.
My childhood dream of writing the Great American Novel was something I could strive for on my own. It wasn't predicated on the cooperation of the non-black masses.
So I am awed by Obama's chutzpah and thrilled by the legions of non-blacks seemingly eager to hand him the keys to the kingdom.
I must also add what seems to be talked about much less often in the mainstream media: Hillary Clinton's possible election as Commander-in-Chief would be every bit as remarkable. Either event would be as momentous in the history of this nation as landing a man on the moon.
Not only am I a black man but more importantly I am the father of a little boy AND a little girl. The fact that both of these campaigns threaten to fulfill King's dream and open up vistas for both of the most important people in my life makes me love this country even more and believe even more -- or perhaps again -- in the possibility of its promise.
Look, perhaps neither one of them will get to the mountaintop but I am grateful to both senators for rediscovering a trail that I had feared lost.
So whatever happens in 2008, get ready for 2048. My kids are so smart and so charming and so capable that you'd be nuts not to vote for them . My six-year-old son already says "Hello!" and charms everybody he passes. It's like he's already running for office.
(FYI, my new book, "Bedtime Stories: Adventures in the Land of Single-Fatherhood," comes out in February.)