Tomorrow, the United States will inaugurate the first African-American President in the country's history. As Barack Obama was making his way to Washington DC on his historic reenactment of Lincoln's train trip, my mother called and was somewhat shocked that I was not following the minute-by-minute details of the train ride.
"It's historic," she said.
Yes, I suppose she's right. It's going to be the first time in history that we have a black President. But, frankly, I did not volunteer for Barack Obama, or vote for him, because he is black. I was so committed to his candidacy because he, quite simply, was the best candidate.
I had two opportunities to vote for Barack Obama. Once in the primaries, and then again in November. The first time I supported him in a losing cause here in New York. Hillary Clinton absolutely schooled him, which is to be expected since she was the very popular and effective junior Senator from this state. I knew Obama stood no chance of winning the popular vote during the primaries here, but I voted anyway because I believed he was a better candidate than Clinton.
Ditto for the general election. Even though Obama certainly did not need my vote to carry New York, I gave it to him anyway, as well as a dozen or so votes I got out in the greater Carbondale, PA metropolitan area.
I do not mean to belittle the sense of relief of so many African-Americans who are genuinely moved by the election of Obama. However, I'll be here in my corner thinking that Barack Obama's presidency is historic in that he is the most insipirational President to ever be sworn in. It will be historic in that he is perhaps the most intelligent President who has ever served. And, I hope to be able to say in eight years, the his administration will be historic in that it has been the most successful ever.
Oh, yeah, and he happened to be black, too.
All the best, Mr. President. I for one can't wait for you to get started.