The Real America

Barack Obama's victory tonight has re-defined for the whole world the meaning of the word "America." The world will forever have a different view of who we are. We now have a new face, a new way of defining who we are as Americans. At several points during the presidential campaign the term "Real America" was used. The Republican ticket spoke in terms of that part of the United States that supported the values of the Republican Party as "The Real America." It depicted the occupants of small towns and their conservative values as the essence of America. These words were spoken in front of the rabid Republican crowds that attended those rallies. The faces in those crowds were almost all white. At one Republican rally, a black Republican was challenged and security was called to escort him to the exit because the prospect of "protesters" was not going to be tolerated at a Republican event.

The Republican tactics of the past few decades that sought to divide the electorate along racial lines and win elections with white votes was still being pursued by the McCain- Palin ticket. That Republican Party was not the party of Lincoln, it was the Republican Party of Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond with tactics most recently fine tuned by Karl Rove.

We can now envision a new political template. It will have to consider how to win elections by appealing to an electorate that is more racially diverse and willing to look past a candidate's ethnic heritage, and in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, judge that candidate by "the content of his character." Our nation has made a sea change of huge significance. It is now possible for young people of color to aspire to the highest goals attainable in American society -- a truly remarkable development.

I must say that Senator McCain's concession speech was entirely a class act. His references to the historical significance of tonight's events were right on. It was uplifting to hear those statements after such a hard fought campaign. Those sentiments from his side of the aisle will go along way in helping our nation find its voice and regain its stride again. The American electorate has really embraced the ideals of "Yes We Can."