After a long and bitter presidential election campaign, the political cease-fire between the parties has given us not only a respite from harsh rhetoric, but an opportunity to take stock of the state of our democracy.
Though those who supported the Republicans are, no doubt, disappointed by the outcome of the vote, there is no question that the election of an African-American as president is a watershed event in American history that is something in which we can all take satisfaction.
Ours is a nation that was, as Abraham Lincoln put it, "conceived in liberty." But it was burdened by the horror of slavery, and after that evil was ended, by the sin of racial segregation and discrimination. Though legislation and judicial decisions put an end to "Jim Crow" laws decades ago, the election of Barack Obama puts an official period on this tragic aspect of the life of our nation.
Obama's win is the living proof that, though still flawed, we have now become a nation where people are not, in Martin Luther King Jr.'s memorable phrase, "judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
No matter who you may have voted for last week, this realization of King's dream for America is a victory for all of us.