I was born in the inner city of Atlanta in 1961, when segregation was still rife, at a time when I would have been barred from visiting the very beaches that make up part of the congressional district I so proudly represent.
Just two years after my birth, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. momentously described his dream that one day his children would “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.”
How proud he would have been on that November Tuesday in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States. Clearly, Dr. King’s dream had come true. White voters across America had judged our President by the content of his character, not the color of his skin, and elected a man of color, whose very lineage with a black African father and white American mother, was a literal manifestation of the figurative melting pot of these United States.
The inauguration of our first black President, the highest office in the land, and perhaps the world’s most powerful office, clearly demonstrated to the world that race need not be a hindrance to success and achievement in America. The fact that Barack Obama won the largest share of white support of any Democrat in a two-man race since 1976 indicated the lion’s share of these voters made their decision based on his character, his vision of hope and change, and his ability to relate with everyday Americans.
Still, let us not ignore that white Democrats aren’t the only voters who are capable of making a decision based on character rather than color.