We are all a product of what could be best described as an “accident of birth”. Our race, our creed, our class, our nationality, all of this is out of our control. I have a problem with the whole “gay pride” thing. It’s a bit ludicrous, actually. It’s like being proud that I have naturally red and curly hair. Or to have “six-foot-one-inch tall pride”! I have no control over the genetics that shape my physical being nor do I have control over where I was born and to whom. I lucked out being born in the United States to middle-class parents instead of a slum in India (or I was shafted that I wasn’t born to the British royal family, for that matter). It’s an “accident of birth” that we are born to the times we live in and the life we have.
That being said, I must say that to be an American yesterday was something that filled me with the greatest pride I have ever felt!
I cried as I watched the swearing in of our forty-fourth President. I cried over the symbolism, using the same Bible that Abraham Lincoln used when he was inaugurated, that it was done on the birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that yes, our country of extreme diversity and polarization concerning race and creed elected its first African-American to its highest office. Elected him to the most powerful office in the known world. It was a great day for the nation and for me. It was a great day that Dr. King’s dream was not only realized, it was surpassed.
To be sure, there is a long road ahead of us. This symbolic action will not sweep away generations of bigotry and hate. Those demons are still out there, lurking in the dark corners of our great nation. But yesterday, they remained hidden. They remained silent. They remained under the rocks where they skulk. They cannot live out in the open glare of truth, pride, freedom and equality.
No matter what may come in the next four years, I believe Dr. King is truly, finally, resting in eternal peace. A peace that no one knew would ever be given to him within our lifetimes.
I am proud to live in Dr. King’s beautiful dream. I am proud that I voted.
I am proud to be an American.