I get Jesse Jackson's reaction, and Oprah's, McNabb's, all of DC outside the affluent NW enclave, and the millions of people in church's, community centers, homes, and streets two nights ago. I have felt that feeling before, the one that makes my skin prickle up a bit just thinking about the first shots of people praying at the Western Wall when Israel retook Jerusalem in 1967. I've re-written this sentence six times, and I cant' capture the feeling. It is big and heavy and almost painful, but you feel light while tingling connections between you and your kinsman stretch out from the tips of your hair and fingers to theirs. That's the best I can do.
I also don't get the Rev. Jackson's reaction, and that, too, is beautiful. I am not black, and I did not grow up in a legally segregated America or the civil rights movement. My heroes have not been assassinated then, and I have not watched nearly 20% of my kinsman wasting their lives away in jails now. But, because of all that, it is also no big deal to me that Pres.-Elect Obama is black. Sure, it is momentous, but equally momentous is that his blackness has no bearing in my mind or the minds of many in my generation on how he will lead. That is equality amidst diversity. That is what America told me it has fought for in the past 100 years, and I see that my reaction is the product of the struggles of hundreds and thousands - quietly, from soup kitchens to corporations, and loudly, in Congress, on the field of play, and on the streets - and I feel a deep gratitude.
What I do get is that the struggle is not over.