A decade ago, during a class at CCAD, I asked the students to describe the future.

We all laughed with one fellow's immediate response: "Black Presidents and flying cars."

When asked to explain, the student quietly said: "That's it. That's the future: Black Presidents and flying cars. We don't have those now, so that must be the future." 

That was all.

While his comment tickled the class one evening, Black Presidents and flying cars has continued to intrigue me.

Since that evening, during the most awkward moments of national racial division, Black Presidents and flying cars seemed a cruel taunt. 

And, yet, during moments of racial unity, the phrase was no more helpful. Black Presidents still seemed like — well, they would have to wait for flying cars.

But first this: a Black President. 
While many gyrate toward expressions of color blindness, I'm willing to savor the moment just as it appears. 

We can pretend to have a President that just happens to be Black. That's politically correct but naive.

I don't believe that any of us "just happens" to be what defines us. Do you "just happen" to be a woman? Do I "just happen" to be a Jew? How underwhelming. Why disown your identity? Why leave the opportunity of diversity, of differing perspectives, at the doorstep?

A friend of mine once taught me:

People, meaning well, say to me, "I never see you as a Black person." 

I know they mean, "I just see you as a person." 

But, when I hear this, I think: "C'mon. Stop kidding yourself. And don't try to kid me. You don't see that I'm a Black person? Look closer. I am a Black person. That's a core aspect of who I am — how the world sees me, and how I see the world. Please don't try to bleach me nor blind yourself." 

Let's do more than "just happen." Let's amplify our identities for true collaboration among our differences. 

So let's respect and rejoice in the reality. President-elect Obama happens to be Black. He's also a Black President.

A Few Thoughts From The Polls
Here is a quick summary of my thoughts and feelings following a complex, multi-textured, personal experience in American politics:
  • An Engaged Generation? I hope the experience of this election has inspired young people — and all for whom this was a first experience voting, volunteering and working in politics (on all sides of the political spectrum) — to embrace a lifetime of civic action. So much of my generation (including me) has been so disengaged, as if politics were for someone else. I feel honored to have been led by young people: on the street, in campaign offices, in their apartments, on the phone, via the web.  

Wait. Suddenly, for the first time, I am older than the President-elect.

  • Homelessness In America. I stood and sat for 14 hours on the street beside a downtown church (where a poll was housed). This church feeds the homeless. I met and learned from a few people who are more than "homeless." 
  • Race in America. I'm not yet able to understand how this moment transcends our past, moving us into our future. This moment offers tremendous opportunity for healing and growth. I am eager for much conversation, meditation and action. 
As the world shrinks, may the nations be inspired by what former President Clinton calls "the power of our example, rather than the example of our power."

It was a long, anxious day, 
standing in an unlikely center of the universe. 
All day, we feared that turnout was weak. 

Though I was a "Line Manager," there wasn't a line the entire day, except for the original line of 100+ at the opening of the polls.

And, yet, at the end of the day, the poll officials said that turnout was more — perhaps twice more — than they had ever seen.

Without a line, we just didn't see it.

My Flying Car Can Wait. (But not long.)
Before I build a second-story on our garage, I will take down my yard sign. 

And I offer this wish: 

May our nation's leaders guide us to renewed prosperity, meaning and peace — for you, your neighbors, your country, the world.