This election obviously speaks volumes about the healing of the deep racial wounds of our nation, and the tears shed by so many of us Tuesday night honored this reality. However, I believe something still deeper has occurred.
The election of Barack Obama demonstrates a shift in consciousness, as well.
There are moments in human history that are truly transformational. They creep up on us gradually, and can generally be perceived only in hindsight. I believe we are now living such a moment.
Millions of Americans cast individual ballots, some in the weeks of early voting, others on election day itself. Not until the tally of those votes started coming in did we begin to realize what we might have done as a nation.
It was not, however, until a somber and dignified black man walked onto that stage in Grant Park that we began to really get it. And as we listened to his sage and inspiring words, we knew. America, all of America, had a leader once more. And we, as a people, had grown stronger and deeper and united in a way we had not been the night before.
Our highest selves stood with us as we felt Obama's quiet strength, as we saw the gravity and grace with which he approached this historic moment. Our cynicism had evaporated without our even knowing it, and we allowed joy to overflow.
We had abandoned an ethic of divisiveness and pessimism, and allowed unity and hope a place at our collective table. We not only rejected fear as a political strategy. We rejected fear itself. And that is huge.
Of course there will be difficult times ahead. Much is expected of our new leader, and he well knows it. However, there is much expected of each of us as well.
We will be given opportunities again and again to retreat into fear and skepticism. A shift has begun. It is up to us to nurture that new growth so that its roots reach deep and become sturdy.
We have given Obama a powerful mandate to move forward, to move us forward as a nation into uncharted territory. We must move with him, by stepping into that future with an ever-renewing faith that we can succeed.
You know, there really is no way to speak or write about this moment without sounding a bit corny or cliched. And the fact that we do it anyway is evidence of the transformation of which I speak.
Our election of a black man is truly historic. But I believe it was a deeper paradigm shift that allowed us to do so. It is this profound metamorphosis that will lead us to confront in novel ways the challenges that lay ahead.
And there is every reason to believe that the transformation we have experienced this week will continue to unfold, if we allow it, and sweep us into a future we can, from our present vantage point, only begin to imagine.
I can hardly wait!
Blessings to us all on this amazing journey ahead,