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The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

Over the past two years, I have steadily watched this campaign unfold.  From the fiercely competitive primaries to the even trickier presidential race, I’ve seen Obama navigate his way through uncharted waters with an impressive amount of grace and ease.  He triumphed while never forgetting that this election was about more than selfish ambition or breaking racial barriers.  He was one who always gave the impression that at his core, he truly wanted to make the world, not just his country, a better place.  And, while the fact that Obama is Black is undeniably noteworthy, it is in no way what makes him remarkable.

Here is a man who, against insurmountable odds, has managed to remain true to his beliefs without resorting to the negativity so common in recent campaigns.  He showed an incredible strength of character when he could have easily chosen the low road.  However, I am not naive.  I realize that to go from someone who couldn’t even get into the 2000 DNC to the first African-American President of the united states requires an unimaginable amount of political savvy. But what set Obama apart from the rest was his ability to stay on message while still appearing to come from a place of honesty and truth.  We have had many a charismatic politician, but he somehow managed to transcend all who had come before.  His intelligence and the eloquence in which he spoke was all the more impressive when coupled with the fact that his meager beginnings would have made his story impossible under any other circumstances.

Barack Obama is an American first and an African-American second.  Rather than making race an issue and attempting to be the first Black President, he simply stayed on course and proved that he deserved to be President for no reason other than the fact that he was the best man for the job.  He gives me hope because he is living proof that with hard work and determination anything is impossible.  We must also not lose sight of the fact that his victory shows how far we’ve come as a nation.  Despite what you feel about personal responsibility vs. systemic injustices, Obama is a testament to the fact that any battle can be won if only we persevere.

And on this day, I am so very proud.  Proud of our country for seeing past the things that divide and instead looking forward towards the things that unite.  Proud of our youth for not succumbing to apathy and showing the world that they have a voice that deserves to be heard.  But most importantly, I am proud of Barack Obama.  With an unfaltering love of his family and an unwavering pride in his country, he showed us all that we can truly have change if we never let go of our hope.

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On Christmas day I went to see The Great Debaters. I had a vague idea of what the movie was about but I didn’t realize that so much of it would focus on James Farmer, Jr. I really, really wanted to like the movie (I did), but the ridiculously trite dialog and (sorry, Denzel*) inexperienced directing made it impossible.

One of the great regrets of my life is that I didn’t spend more time with Dr. Farmer when I had the chance. While I was an undergrad at Mary Washington College (now University of Mary Washington) I had the great honor of taking his Civil Rights class. He was 77 years old at the time but the man had a memory that was truly astounding. He was able to recount epic moments in Civil Rights history as though they had happened days ago, instead of decades. He told stories of the abject hatred he faced when he attended his first sit-ins. And of the unimaginable struggles he had to endure as one of the Freedom Riders. To be able to hear first hand accounts from someone who played such an integral part in the shaping of American history was a privilege that I will always treasure.

So even though I didn’t completely like the after-school-special-hollywoodization of Farmer’s tenure at Wiley college, I did respect the sentiment. If nothing else, it served to remind us of the sacrifices of those that have come before. SNCC, CORE, SCLC, Farmer, King, Wilkins…and so many more.

Dr. Farmer was one of the most remarkable human beings I have ever known. And with every success that I achieve I honor him and those who have paved the way.

*Note to Denzel: While I respect you and think you are one of the world's greatest actors, come on dude, even you have to admit that there were WAY too many arc shots at the end. I got dizzy for goodness sake. Oh, and you totally deserved the Oscar for Training Day, you were awesome.


say it like you mean it

I stopped in to Sellers Markets this morning to get myself an egg-a-muffin.  After waiting a short while my order was ready.  The cook calls out: “Arquay!.

Now on the surface…this isn’t terribly remarkable.  Except for the fact that he actually pronounced my name correctly.  I actually did a double take and smiled at the not oft heard pronunciation.

It was my first time going there for breakfast.  This almost makes me want to consider an egg-a-muffin-only diet.