In a very heartfelt op-ed piece in today's NY Times, entitled, "Savor the Moment," Bob Herbert expresses the pleasure many Americans feel today about our country arriving to a higher place of oneness in having a black man become a major party's nominee for president, after a hotly contested race with a woman, who almost made it there herself.
"Racism and sexism have not taken their leave. But the fact that Barack Obama is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, and that the two finalists for that prize were a black man and a white woman, are historical events of the highest importance. We should not allow ourselves to overlook the wonder of this moment.
"This election year has been a testament to the many long decades of work and sacrifice by men and women — some famous, most not; some still alive, many gone — to build a more equitable and just American society.
"When the night riders were fitted for their robes, when Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door, when lowlifes mocked and humiliated those who were fighting for women’s rights, they were trying to forestall the realization of this type of moment in history."
The only thing I feel compelled to add to Herbert's analysis is this: as long as we treat racism, sexism, homophobia, corporate greed and malfeasance, war other than in genuine self defense and religious fanaticism as "ideological differences," or even "social problems," our progress will remain painfully slow. But if in fact we see these things for what they are - symptoms of mental and emotional illnesses - we could take a broader, health-related approach to these disorders, and speed up our own evolution toward a more enlightened society. Just as it is mandatory that children receive proper medical examinations for their bodies, so, too, should their mental and emotional health be given equal, early attention.
One person hating another for the coloration of their skin is not a philosophical disagreement, but a form of lunacy, just as a man who hates women isn't suffering from cultural conditioning, but rather from a deep seated psychopathology. Likewise, someone who authorizes the pollution of our life-sustaining water and air, or who covers up stealing in the name of "profit," isn't a competitive business person, but a sociopath, just as is anyone who kills or authorizes killing of any sort for reasons other than immediately preventing the taking of their own life or that of their loved ones.
I feel your happiness, Bob Herbert. I only hope we can speed our way along on this journey towards peace and harmony by at least starting to see things for what they are, and calling them by their right name, then providing the appropriate help.