On Friday I attended a Martin Luther King Day presentation by one of the first grade classes at All-American Public Schools. And there, I experienced the first of several recent moments where I literally had to fight back tears just thinking about how historic the events of this upcoming Tuesday will be.
As the group of six-year-olds wrapped up their recitation of biographical facts about MLK with a touching rendition of We Shall Overcome, I tried to imagine what an 80-year-old King would have thought not only of the presentation by a comfortably integrated class of public school students but also of the imminent inauguration of our first African-American president.
The media seems to be conspiring to tug at my emotions as well. NPR’s series on previous African-Americans in the White House–the slaves that built it, and the butlers corps that served mostly unrecognized there–and footage on CNN and YouTube of the Obamas’ train trip from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. I especially like the children’s voices in the background of the YouTube video, the pure excitement comes through so clearly. I envy Heidi’s seeing this in person and appreciate the link!
I can’t remember ever being so excited, much less so emotional about a new president. When Clinton became the first candidate I’d voted for to actually win the election, I was happy. I looked forward to his presidency. But I didn’t shed any tears of joy over the prospect. It’s an historic time, an opportunity for change that is more than just a catchy slogan.
Tuesday can’t come soon enough.