Is this really happening? Did I just witness Sen. Hillary Clinton move to nominate Sen. Barack Obama by acclimation? (They can do that?) And the move was seconded? And voted on? And PASSED? Sen. Barack Obama is officially the Democratic Party’s nominee for Presidency of the United States of America?! WHAT?
I was born in 1960, and until last November, I honestly never thought I’d see the day. (And for the past 22 years, I’ve worked at Black Enterprise, where impossible means we may have to come in to work over the weekend to get it done after pulling an all-nighter or two.) Even after the Iowa Caucuses, there was still that little voice in my head that said “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Well, I just saw it, and I still can hardly believe it. This is me at 48. The guy who failed to vote in the first presidential election of his adulthood–and still feels personally responsible for allowing the Reagan Revolution to take root. The guy who supported Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 1984 campaign as a wild, great and reckless adventure, and then took his 1988 campaign as seriously as a heart attack, as I began to gain a true understanding of the stakes of political activism. But I still thought I’d never see the day.
I can’t help but think of my paternal grandfather, Adam Marshall Edmond. Pop-pop died on the Sunday morning that Obama returned from his tour of Europe and the Middle East to address the UNITY Convention of journalists of color in Chicago. I passed on Obama’s address to fly home after I got news of Pop-pop’s passing at 10:30 am on July 27, 2008, from prostate cancer. He was 98–a half century older than me.
Pop-pop was born in 1910 in North Carolina. More than ten years before the invention of television. Fifty-nine years before the invention of the Internet. More than half a century before passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed racial segregation in schools, public places, and employment. A retired Baptist minister, he did not live to see Obama’s official nomination, but he did live long enough to know that a black man might become the next president of the United States. (Don’t sleep on Pop-Pop: he didn’t give up his driver’s license until he was 97. Run your car into the side of the local CVS and everyone makes a big deal. Hey, nobody got hurt!)
If I can scarcely digest what just happened at the Democratic Convention today, what must this world have looked like to him, at 98? And don’t even get me started about my father. He spent a career in the U.S. Army, a second career in the National Guard, a third as a corrections officer, and is an enthusiastic member of his community’s German American Club and the Knights of Columbus (but needed me to explain Kwanzaa to him because he