Sea Changes

Sea changes. I?ve always liked the phrase and I hear it all over the place now. On election night, we ate dry turkey and sugar snap peas while parked in front of the television with Suzanne and her three-year-old son Charlie. Charlie was tired- he sat on top of the coffee table and crawled behind the couch and refused to eat his peas. We watched as the states outlined on the map flipped from white to blue or red. It was like watching Wheel of Fortune when the winning phrase emerges from the board with sudden clarity. Our guests had just left when they announced Obama the 44th president-elect of the United States.

How can I say where my heart sat? I was a bit feverish, a bit fluish that night and I got the wicked chills, felt a surge of emotion pressing against my throat. On the screen we witnessed an outpouring of joy and hope, crowds of people hugging and waving flags and weeping. Scott and I cried and held each other on the couch and felt proud to be a part of this moment, a part of that crowd if only by proxy.

Sea changes. In a couple of months Scott and I will bring our son Tariku home from Africa and he will be able to see faces the same color as his in the White House. When he?s old enough, I will tell him about November 4, 2008. I hope by that time, we will be able to look back and see that this moment was a harbinger of true and lasting change. I hope that by the time my son is old enough to understand the significance of Obama?s election, civil rights will have been granted to every citizen of this country equally and finally.

Read ?In Our Lifetime,? a great article by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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