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Proud of America

My apologies to my editorial board colleagues for dashing out like that. I just couldn't stay. News that Barack Obama had won the honor and privilege of becoming the 44th president of the United States brought a mist to my eyes. But it was the screaming on my cell phone from my ex, Giuseppe, that made the tears flow. "We won!," he said over and over again. "We won!"

Yes, indeed.

I needed to be home. To shed my tears and rejoice in private as an amazing barrier finally came tumbling down. As I walked up 16th Street, the celebration was all around. Horns honked. People cheered. Thumbs up all around. But I couldn't really look anyone in the eye. For to look into the faces -- so many wonderful faces of all races -- of people celebrating the first African-American president would push those tears hugging the lids of my eyes down my cheeks.

I'm crying because this election vindicates my view of my country. A generous nation with a complicated history whose people always find a way to make things right. No, the election of Obama will not solve the myriad problems that await him. Nor will it right all wrongs or end all bigotry. But it certainly gives the words of the Declaration of Independence a greater ring of truth -- not just for Americans, but for all those who aspire to come here or replicate what we have here.

Back in February, Michelle Obama got into trouble during the campaign when she said, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country.…" I knew where she was coming from. But on this night, I've never been more proud of the United States.

By Jonathan Capehart  | November 5, 2008; 12:18 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Posted by: martymar123 | November 5, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Beautiful editorial!

The air feels electric right now; I just hope Obama can follow through without letting the party elite over reach. If he keeps us centered then he'll surely have a 2nd term.

God it's so nice to have an intelligent and thoughtful person representing me and the country. I couldn't be happier.

Posted by: punxnbutter | November 5, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Heron | November 5, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Campaign 2008

Obama rode forth from his garrison,
While McCain menaced the Saracen.
Biden his time,
Barack made his climb.
McCain was Palin comparison.

David Cohen

Posted by: dcohen2 | November 5, 2008 1:22 AM | Report abuse

You said it, Jonathan! I too knew what Michele meant and resented how it was so easily misinterpreted by many who could not appreciate her perspective. Here I am a black man in my early 40s, educated at elite universities and even I never imagined that I would live to see a Black man nominated--let alone elected--president. I have never been prouder of my countrymen for vindicating my faith in this great nation!

Posted by: otabenga | November 5, 2008 6:43 AM | Report abuse

beautifully put! thanks - and also for mentioning Giuseppe.

Posted by: jdascn | November 5, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Obama wins.. Let's stop the affirmative action now.. Black African Americans are no longer or should not be considered minorties in this country. The Black African American has won the highest office in this country. Stop the whinning! I'm tired of being discriminated against.

Posted by: SAL3456 | November 5, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Jonathan, I understand your joy, but can not share totally in the election results. Why? Well, as a gay man, ( yes you and I and Florent had many dinners together) I am dismayed at the anti-gay proposals that passed during this election of change. I frankly can't celebrate as much as I want today because in California, gays and lesbians were dismissed at the polls while chickens and hens and calfs gained overwhelming rights. I, like our future President do not define myself based only on one aspect of my idenity, but I am upset that the rest of the country, from florida, arkansas to California has decided too for me.

Posted by: mattsmith535 | November 5, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Interesting -- why was your ex reference to a female on "morning joe" this morning?

Posted by: camerontsc1 | November 5, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Will blacks now stop committing black on black crimes, will they support their family financially instead of relying on the government to be a surrogate parent, will blacks finally begin to achieve academically, will black culture stop glorifying drug dealers, pimps and hustlers, will they finally pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become full-fledged Americans? Or do they see BO as a way to get at even more government cheese?

Posted by: daavina | November 5, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart, I'm a 61 year old white guy, who lives in Ecuador, and I cried too.

I can't put it as eloquently as you, but I'm proud of us, proud of our country; we're something else, as they say.

With yesterday's results, though, we've just ended one campaign. Now begins the truly hard part for Mr. Obama: Lead us back out of the morass of the last eight years while keeping us united as a country.

On this last point (unifying the country) , I suggest that President Obama spend time in the red States conversing with his fellow Americans in those regions. The folks in those States need to know that while President Obama (and the folks who voted for him) may have differences with red voters, they will not be excluded, derided or denigrated for their political beliefs or values. Rather, their views will be respected and they will be consulted in determing the future direction of the country. If President Obama succeeds in doing something like this, I venture to say that he will take us a long, long way toward a truly united, red-free, blue-free country.....

Posted by: Tambopaxi | November 5, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I feel as though my life had been suspended for over 8 years, and now I'm just weepy all the time! I'm a middle-aged white woman, who was a full time foot soldier for Kerry. I wasn't so much for Kerry as against Bush. But Obama spoke to me as no other politician has. I wonder now if had Gore or Kerry won, and if Bush hadn't been so destructive, that Obama wouldn't have had the sweeping victory that he has. I'm very grateful that he chose to run. Our election day in Wisconsin was surreal - a recording breaking high, and sunny - perfect!

Posted by: Sally7 | November 5, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I am still in a state of shock. I am so overwhelmed and grateful that people looked past the color of his skin and judged him by the content of his character. President Barack OBAMA!

Posted by: DinahS | November 5, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Beautiful editorial

The pride and joy I felt last night and still today clings to my heart. Hope bursted the seams and found it's way to my eyes and flowed down my cheeks.

I stood in my living room with my family and friends, holding my children (3 boys) and we all openly wept.

Posted by: robind_nc | November 5, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I am now even prouder to be an American.

Posted by: morryb | November 5, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Okay Capehart, stop it!

Just when I thought the tears have dried up, here comes your post. Hey, I'm at work now.

Yes, I saw the same images on tv. My fiance wanted us to take to the streets in celebration also. But I wanted to savor my tears in private.

I really ...never...thought...this would happen in my life time.

Somewhere in the heavens, Martin Luther King is looking down.

...judged by the content of character, not by the color of skin.

Well done, America. Well done.

Posted by: kban495 | November 5, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Obama wins.. Let's stop the affirmative action now.. Black African Americans are no longer or should not be considered minorties in this country. The Black African American has won the highest office in this country. Stop the whinning! I'm tired of being discriminated against.

Posted by: SAL3456
Dear God, shut up...go on Faux news website and b*tch there, okay?

Capeheart, I am with you - I have had a grin on my face and I am bursting with joy and pride. You put it beautifully...

Posted by: LABC | November 5, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

This is exactly how I was feeling last night.
That I was once again proud of my country.
Very very proud. Proud to be an American again.

Posted by: jiminytoby | November 5, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Well said. Unfortunately, we also saw at least 3 states write anti-gay discriminatory laws into their constitutions. Yes, last night was historic, moving and spectacular. But there is so much work to be done.

Posted by: JohnnyU2Berry | November 5, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Your tears are not because of Mr Obama's character...your tears are generated by the color of his how do you say to judge people by their character when you do could care less about his character...he was elected because of the color of his skin...and I dont believe any man has ever not been elected as president because of the color of his skin...too many double standards...I have the feeling Mr. Obama will soon be referred to and Uncle O'TomA...if he even tries to please anyone but the black agenda he will be ostracized like Colin Powell...there is no middle's human nature to want it all...and the black man is no different...and as far as "African" American...Mr Obama is not an African, never has been an African and never will be an fact he has never been anything but an American...but the fact that black people need to call him African American just shows how unamerican they really clarify: he is only half
African decent anyway...remember his mother is white and he was never ever brought up in the black dont think for one minute that he even closely relates to the black community's woes...he doesn't even have a being only half black and never lived in the black cant even say he is black...when they put a real African American(must be from Africa to be eligible) then let us all know

Posted by: a2007roadking | November 5, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I listened to Mr Obama's speech last night after he became President elect...I pray that he can accomplish even half of what he has hopes of accomplishing...The United States and the rest of the world will be a much better place...I truly wish him the best because his ideals about our government are what I believe to be a way to bring this nation back to the great nation it once was...this is not about the first man to be elected with African blood in his veins...this should be more about the first man to be elected president that is by the people, of the people and for the people of the UNITED STATES of far I don't really recall any...I'm not so sure it is an attainable goal...politics are a powerful thing and can change what were once good intentions to just being another person being driven by the government and not the other way around...Good Luck Mr President...we are all counting on you and you are in my prayers.

Posted by: a2007roadking | November 5, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

For those who commented on this page mocking this victory, saying things like "government cheese, black on black crimes, and other ridiculous statements....your views are outdated and are done!

This time in history has said that your comments and your ignorance are finished. We as a country are moving forward...with our without you. We will try to listen and value your opinions, but if you can't get over your own racism..if you can't give the most respect to those people who are overjoyed that we have broken a racial barrier big time....instead of saying that we are "just" celebrating him because he is black....then you are allowing racism and hate pollute you. You can not hide it any longer....we all see it. The world sees your anger...and America and the rest of the world is saying "no more". Your day is gone.

Posted by: merric114 | November 5, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

@daavina -
The question of whether or not ALL people will change their behavior, mentality and skewed beliefs actually never crossed my mind. I'm more concerned with the ENTIRE COUNTRY'S ability and willingness to work together and I am encouraged. However, your obvious ignorance and lowly view of black people in general makes me wonder.

The bigger question: Will YOU CHANGE the direction of your negative view toward people or will you CONTINUE TO ATTACH THOSE ACTS TO THE ENTIRE BLACK COMMUNITY? What are you doing about your own people's problems? WE work to cure the ills of our community-does your community do the same or do you think all are in accordance and upstanding?
I can ASSURE YOU, black people don't attribute the mentality of white supremacist, racist groups to EVERY white person in America. Nor do we deem lower-income whites or white residents of a trailer park to be "rednecks" or "poor white trailer trash" who park old junk cars in the front yard and cook up meth and shine in the back, sit on the "porch sofa" with his sister/wife/aunt or her brother/uncle/husband, chewing tobacco with a shot gun in tow while balancing beer cans on wife-beater clad bellies yelling out N**** at every brown person. UGH!
Your house is made of glass-hold on to them stones or at least open the window. Hon, YOU NEED TO CHECK YOUR MIND AND YOUR MIRROR. The HEALING STARTS AT HOME and yours is in DIRE NEED of repair.
Whites do as much "within" as blacks and all other races-did you think it was JUST BLACKS? If the state of OUR community troubles you, join our efforts to correct the behavior and correct these problems.

Posted by: lioness_ohyes | November 5, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Lioness you need to fix your own community...your rhetoric makes absouletly no sense at all...the white community does not ask for handouts based on the color of their skin like people of color do...white low lifes are just that...they are not allowed to have white history month or a college such as Grambling or a black student caucus...etc the way...who was president while Michelle Obama got her degree as a lawyer and a hospital supervisor...and who was president while Bareck was getting his degrees...were they just chosen out of a hat...or hand picked by some White man to be allowed to go to Harvard...the truth is this country has bent over backwards to try to help black people as american citizens...where is all this white hatred and doesnt really exist...I have no racist views I feel every person be it any color or creed is given an opportunity to succeed just like anyone else...if you are a white scumbag its your choice if you are a black scumbag its by your own are obviously an educated could that have happened...come on stop throwing the word racism around like its and others like you (not your skin color but your beliefs) black white or other have used this word too much and now is the time for "change" stand up and take responsibility for your own actions...I have no qualms with the black community...the black community doesnt bother me at all...but all the whining by people like you that are constantly talking about how the black community is oppressed needs to get out there and do something about it...and please do not tell me how the blacks in this country view white people...if they were not racist then the words uncle tom would not be used to describe colin powell and the word cracker would not is still used as much as any other racial epiteth...I went to school where the blacks ganged up and bullied the school so please dont tell me about the poor oppressed blacks and how they are discriminated against by white people...when a black person walks down my street I wave...and say hello...cant say I would be treated the same in the projects of any inner city that was predominantly may not be too safe your own this racist or fact? you tell me...let my healing begin

Posted by: a2007roadking | November 5, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

You needed a person with african blood running through their veins to be president before you could move forward with your life and make decisions how you would live it...and everyone knows you are totally celebrating because he is black ifs and or buts about that...we should celebrate President Obama when he makes good his promises...not because he is your life will be better?...because he is president? are in for a huge letdown if you base your happiness on that...Mr Obama is for Mr Obama...until he proves that he is more than just another politician who doesnt care about anyone but themselves...I really hope he is successful for the american people...but it seems to me the black people think he is some Messiah come to free them...maybe I got it all wrong...please enlighten me...I would whole heartedly listen and respect your view...but please be more general "we are moving forward"...who is we? and how are "we" moving forward?...I know all the people on the news stations that were White Obama supporters said they didnt like the Bush administration and their foreign political policies...they didnt like their children in Iraq fighting...they didnt like the way the present administration handled the economic problems....etc etc...but all the black people interviewed were more like ...finally we have arrived...finally an "African American" President...this proves america has finally made anything now possible...I just dont get all really proves that the black people were voting for the black candidate based on his skin color and wanted that skin color as president...that was the change they wanted to see and the white people were voting to change the government policies...again maybe I'm wrong ...please be honest when you explain this to me...or did the media present a skewed version of the truth?

Posted by: a2007roadking | November 5, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you could use a little more diplomacy when posting on here...ask questions as I have instead of being accusational and stereotypical...

Posted by: a2007roadking | November 5, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

An inspiring review...

It was ignorance that put up that barrier and it was partly Palin's ignorance that brought it down.

Posted by: olgaolivia | November 7, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

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