"For the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change." - Michelle Obama, Feb. 18, 2008
I always thought I understood what Michelle Obama was trying to say.
You are familiar, of course, with what she actually did say, which is quoted above. It provided weeks of red meat for her husband's opponents, who took to making ostentatious proclamations of their own unwavering pride in country.
But again, I think I know what the lady meant to say. Namely, that with her husband, this brown-skinned guy with the funny name, making a credible run for the highest office in the land, she could believe, for the first time, that "we the people" included her.
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It is, for African Americans, an intoxicating thought almost too wonderful for thinking. Yet, there it is. And here we are, waking up this morning to find Barack Obama president-elect of these United States.
In a sense, it is unfair - to him, to us - to make Tuesday's election about race. Whatever appeal Obama may have had to African Americans and white liberals eager to vote for a black candidate, is, I believe, dwarfed by his appeal to Americans of all stripes who have simply had enough of the politics of addition by division as practiced by Karl Rove and his disciples, enough of the free floating anger, the holiday from accountability, the nastiness masquerading as righteousness, the sheer intellectual dishonesty, that have characterized the era of American politics that ends here.
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