Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Martin Luther King Jr., from "Where Do We Go From Here?", a speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on August 16, 1967:
I must confess, my friends, the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will be still rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. There will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. We may again with tear-drenched eyes have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. . . . When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.
I've been having a hard time today finding words to describe the stream of emotions provoked by last night's party in Grant Park. Hope. Love. Relief. Pride. Kinship. Towering patriotism.

Really, nothing captures it so well as the two photos below, taken by my friend Sandy at the moment when CNN called the race.

{Photos by santheo, used under a Creative Commons license.}

As Barack Obama emphasized in his speech, last night marked the beginning more than the end. It was the end of a campaign that began, for a lot of us, in the shadows of November 3rd, 2005, but it was just the start of the incredibly long to-do list facing us as a nation. The lolObama that my friend Jeremy made today says it all:

At the same time, the events of yesterday deserve a couple of days of heartfelt celebration--so I think it's only right that this post end on a lighter, more cheerful note, supplied by rocketlass. Great patriot that she is, she chose not only to wear her red, white, and blue dress to the rally last night, but to spend her L ride down there reading some of Roosevelt's fireside chats. When I met up with her on my return from canvassing in Indianapolis, almost the first thing she did was point out the following passage from the chat of May 7, 1933:
In addition to all this, the Congress also passed legislation as you know authorizing the sale of beer in such states as desired it. That has already resulted in considerable reemployment, and incidentally it has provided for the federal government and for the states a much-needed tax revenue.
So in the spirit of FDR, and in the full appreciation of the public works funded by my liquor taxes, I raise a glass tonight to Barack Obama--along with, always and forever, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, and all the brave souls who came between them--and of course to the United States of America.


  1. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Hi Levi!

    Laura here, sneaking up on your blog with an important public service announcement from the Onion:

  2. Anonymous2:29 PM

    Thanks for the MLK quote. I've been thinking a lot about his last speech, and "I may not get there with you..." these past few days. I'm still overcome with emotions. I'm so glad you can Stacey were in Grant Park (and OK, envious).