You know sitting here I began to think "What does Mr. Obama's accomplishment mean to me. I mean really mean to me?" Well, in order to arrive at that answer I first had to work with some other things. A friend of mine wrote a note which outlined what he was doing the moment he found out about Mr. Obama's historic victory. At the end of his note he wrote the question "Where were you on the day Obama was elected the President of the United States of America?" I responded,
"My Grandmother is 94 Years young. She raised me and I heard countless stories of her time in America where she worked hard, in shall I say less than favorable conditions during a time where the unimaginable happened to black people everyday. When she tells me stories of the things she's seen and the moments she's witnessed I could never quite wrap my head around how she could so vividly recall each moment. I mean over 34 000 days, over 820 000 hours she could recall moments as if they happened yesterday. I could never understand it until yesterday. "Daddy Where were you on the day Obama was elected the President of the United States of America?" A story I look forward to sharing with my children one day. I'll see you in Washington January 20th 2009, the year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Feb 19th) so fittingly inaugurating Mr. Barack Obama as America's 44th president."
Then I began to think, what does this win really mean to me? Hope? Fulfillment? Opportunity? Change? Yes. Yes. Yes. and Yes.
Hope that the way the world is will not be the way that the world will forever be. Hope that my inner cynic will one day be hugged by the deeds that my eyes see and my ears hear of. Hope that in this one man, this one moment that all the evil that has been smeared on the surface of our world will not stifle all the good that has been brewing under the surface.
Fulfillment of a promise that all men are created equal. That I can, as a young black man who grew up with a single parent in a less than favorable neighbourhood with little when it came to money but great wealth when it came to love, can become anything in this world that anyone else can become. That the twenty four hours in my day are the same amount as those in every other man's and that the length of my achievement depends on where I want to go and not where I have come from nor the color of my skin. Opportunity to dream big. Opportunity to learn, to live. Opportunity to become something greater than money, greater than power, greater than fame. Opportunity to become the change in this world that I want to see. Opportunity to be one man, with my one voice to make a difference. Change - to make the form, nature, content or future course of something different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone. Still none of these caught the heart of what I felt when I watched Senator Barack Obama claim 349 electoral votes. So what was it? What did I feel? What did that moment mean to me? Ahh. It hit me. Well I got a text message that read "He's (Mr. Obama) an amazing symbol for what can be achieved. He's a true hero." That's it. The Senator once said,
"If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress."
You see if Senator Obama can, despite the barriers, become the most powerful man in the world - to rise up and be the best version of himself, what is there to stop us, to stop me, from achieving the same level of success? With hunger, humility and faith we can, I can, be carried towards all my goals and desires. What did this election mean to me? Simple - it meant I had a modern day role model to show me the possibilities of what can be achieved with hunger, humility and faith.
"We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent."
I hope you find what this historic moment means to you - white, black, green orange or blue. Thank You Senator for holding your dream high and to you the American people for not letting that dream down. I look forward with anticipation to the upcoming months, weeks and years. Mark Sparks
Mark Can be reached for comment at Mark@MarkSparks.com