I arrived back home from Chicago late Monday night wishing I could have stayed one more day to see and hear President Elect Barack Obama speak at Grant Park. Alas, I had been away far too long on assignment and wished to be with my family and also to perform my duty as a citizen and vote. While my 10 year old daughter was at her swimming lesson, my wife and I and our 4 year old son Isaac went to cast our ballots and be a part of history on Tuesday night.
While waiting on line to sign the voter register it suddenly dawned on me how much our children absorb our attitudes and world view as my son started chanting “Barack Obama, Barack Obama” to the amusement and consternation of the voting officials. I quickly quieted the little rascal, gently letting him know that who we are voting for is a secret and no one else should know. That and a little squeeze of the arm for emphasis cooled his zeal for chanting “Barack Obama”. He then proceeded to chant “No McCain, No McCain”.
Well I was glad we were not ejected from the polling station and we were able to cast our votes. In the booth I had a feeling of awe as I realized that the mantle of power and responsibility was being passed on to not only the younger generation, but to a group who have a vastly different view of race and gender. As I watched the election returns on CNN I was witnessing the emergence of a new demographic power. Young latinos, asians, blacks who grew up with little regard for race in their interactions with each other. Not totally but far less than my generation and those previous. Where a name like Ortiz was not an unusual and foreign name as it was for me . The emergence of hope for our country and our people.