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Obama proves America is just getting better


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POSTED: Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tuesday was a bad day for America haters. The election of Barack Obama as our country's next president kind of spoils their favorite pastime of grandly wallowing in their belief that America is a horrible country; that it is a corrupt, racist place that never does the right thing.

To borrow a line from Michelle Obama, I don't think I have ever been more proud of this country than I was on Tuesday night when it was clear that Obama had won. And that's saying a lot. Because I've always been an unabashed, unrepentant and unashamed fan of America.

Despite its historical flaws, I've always viewed the country as in a state of "growing up," becoming an adult and growing past some of the mistakes of its youth. I've chosen to view it as inherently good but flawed. But always trying to overcome those flaws and doing it better than most of the countries out there.

As a military brat, I was in elementary school in Georgia and I still remember the "white only" windows at fast food restaurants and "white only" water fountains.

In junior high I was in Alabama. I remember going with my friend to watch the first day of football practice at the local high school. Football was big in Bear Bryant country. A couple of hundred young men turned out for that team and half were black. By the time the team had been chosen several weeks later, only one black student remained. Can you even imagine how amazingly talented that guy must have been to break through the color barrier of that time? He had to have been a million times better than all the white guys just to make the squad.

I remember going to a high school football game one night. When the team ran onto the field all the players looked exactly alike in their pads and helmets. The only skin showing was their arms from the elbows down and their legs from the knees to their socks. And all that skin was white. Except for that one player whose dark skin stood in contrast with his teammates. And I remember the horror and shame I felt when one white man stood up in the stands and screamed racial insults at that player.

But on Tuesday we showed how in a single generation we'd gone from being a country that made African-Americans use separate water fountains and restaurant windows, to a country electing a black president.

How many countries in the world could or have done that? And we did it through a fair, peaceful election of our own volition. America offered up two extraordinary presidential candidates. I have only respect for John McCain, but at this point in history, I think America did the right thing. The people showed that America is growing up.

And that just has to rile the America haters out there. How can they indulge themselves in thinking the worst of their country when their country just showed its ability to shine?

I'm sure they'll find a way.