There has been lots of talk concerning the upcoming events surrounding the inauguration of the first African-American President of the United States: Barack Obama. Much like The Million Man March people are converging on Washington, DC in throngs . . . in droves . . . in buses . . . in SUVs . . . in cars . . . in trains . . . in planes. And, much like with The Million Man March, many of these people have no place to stay.
Political pundits question the judgment of Black pastors across the country, who are bringing bus-loads of parishioners, congregants, and people in the neighborhoods, to witness this historic and unprecedented event. Talking heads on various talk radio shows continue to pose those pesky, prevailing questions:
"Why on earth would people ride hours and days to attend an event, where they may or may not have tickets to planned activities? Where will all of these people sleep, as hotel rooms have sold out long ago? Are many of these presidential-history-seekers aware that they probably will not get close enough to see President elect Obama? Why are so many youth, the elderly, women with small children, and the likes, subjecting themselves to what is sure to be challenging circumstances in the nation's Capitol"?The answer is simple: After more than four hundred years in this country, many African-Americans finally feel a part of the electoral process. Although Black people have dutifully participated in the election process over the years... even amid promises- albeit empty... that things would get better for Black people and their communities. But now, with the ascension of President-elect Barack Obama, many feel that finally the table has turned.
African-Americans now actually 'feel' a part... as many gladly sent in that $1, $5, or $50 contribution. Countless Blacks, who had never registered to vote... not only registered, but proudly stood in those long lines, in rural and urban America, to cast the 'one' vote that sent Obama over-the-top. Who can dispute that their one vote was 'NOT' the vote responsible for sending a Black man to the White House?
No... for some, watching this event on television will not suffice... that is too impersonal. It doesn’t matter about securing tickets to the high-priced inaugural balls, luncheons or other events. For many African-Americans, the pleasure of only being there is all that really matters.
Indeed, the pride being emoted in African-American homes, churches, and neigborhoods is infectious. People of African desent have a swagger in their walk, and are holding their heads up high... knowing that as a cohesive group, they pulled together... and with a collective vote, unity of purpose, and pooling together the little monies to give, African-Americans now know that they had a major hand in helping shape history.
Therefore, if riding a bus 24-hours, or walking five miles in unpleasant weather conditions for the 'opportunity' to see the first man-of-color sworn-in to the highest office in the land is the final leg of this journey... so be it. Blacks from across the nation are Washington, DC bound!