Understand The Tears

Wednesday, November 05, 2008 Bryan Hudson 2 Comments

[Image from the Chicago Tribune]

For many older African Americans, witnessing the election of our nation's first black president was unthinkable only 30 years ago. The occasion is so astonishing that many of us have been moved to tears. These tears of joy celebrate American equality and opportunity at the highest level, representing lifetimes of hopes and questions.

Older Americans see our society as a montage of images, memories and experiences. When I pull into the driveway of my northeast side home, I sometimes remember my father showing me the deed to the small home he purchased in 1967. The deed said, in part, that the property should never be sold to "negroes" or "mulattos." I live in a neighborhood where blacks would have likely been unwelcome when my house was built in 1965. I am always aware that brave people, white and black, prayed and sacrificed to overcome racial inequality.

On the day of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968, I went bike riding with my friend Bobby. The fact that he was white had not been significant before that day. As the scales of indifference fell off my eyes, I began to understand that there were people who did not want blacks and whites to co-exist as equals in every respect. Bobby and I, as 11-year-olds, were seeds of "the dream."

While there have been irresponsible blacks who attracted negative focus, at the core of the "movement" was decency and the determination to be respected as equals with all others. That path to equality required excellence supported by changes in laws and hearts. The most admired Americans share the transcendent quality of excellence and compassion. Admiration is a foundation for equality that causes race to become less of a factor.

In reality, whites were more instrumental to Obama's election than blacks. This is the best evidence that America has grown and changed for the better. And the whole world takes notice.

President-elect Barack Obama's excellence, personally and politically, is remarkable. His campaign has been both seminal and energizing for our electoral process. He possesses a unique mix of culture, gifts and abilities. At the same time, we must continue to empower people who are less gifted and fortunate.

If you see "tears of joy," try to understand this: African Americans, even from the days of slavery, have staked their lives on the hope embedded in these words from our Declaration of Indepdendence, "...All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Pray for our new president-elect and his family.

1 Peter 2:13-17
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.


  1. Thank you, Bryan. It's perfectly what our readers needed this morning at IndyChristian.com.

  2. Thank you Bryan. Your well chosen words speak volumes to us as a people of dignity. We must pray for our leaders and our nation.
    Your brother Major