I’m Tom Long and this is my story, hence the name.
This past Tuesday, the United States turned an historic corner. We now have our first President who is a person of color. As a WASP male, I don’t celebrate what that color is so much as I celebrate how little it mattered to the electorate. Like many of you reading this, I have witnessed a significant shift in my own lifetime to issues of race.
When I was a wee tyke, my Dad took me to a stock car race. It was summer in West Virginia and the air around the dirt track was filled with dust from the race cars. I was thirsty and saw a water fountain. I ran over to get a drink. A stranger scolded me for drinking from “the niggers’ ” fountain and sent me around the building to a fountain labeled “Whites Only.”
When we crossed the mountains into Virginia for vacation trips the restaurants all had signs proclaiming that they were for whites only. Bigotry was widespread. Even in the early 1980’s when I lived outside Boston, there were instances of racial violence at athletic events.
Those who know me are aware that I disagree with the President’s views on abortion and the centralization of government. I am thrilled that he has taken such a strong stand against torturing prisoners. But despite differences in some areas, my prayers and hopes are with him and with his family.
I am so greatful to live in a country that can finally look past the color of our skin. The road has been long, the casualties plentiful, but the election of our new President is a milestone in the progress of the battle of good versus evil. An entire society seemed geared toward oppressing African-Americans. Oppression held the upper hand for too long. Now, thank God, we have chosen one from those who had been the most oppressed population in our history to be our leader.
I’m guessing there are some Quakers dancing and shouting with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. up in heaven. I hope you’ll take some time for gratitude and praise as well.