After the election was called for Senator Obama (thank goodness it didn’t go into the next day or weeks), it felt like the biblical “day of Jubilee” was upon us. Pro-Obama crowds were euphoric as the revolution was seemingly televised. There was dancing and singing. Tears flowed. Everyone commented on the “historic” moment. Senator John McCain sought to wash the historic story as one for African Americans, but he was only partly right. The entire campaign–for both Democrats and Republicans–was an historic event. It was an emblem of how far the United States has changed, and we should all be proud of that.
Let’s ignore for a moment that the Emancipation Proclamation freed very few slaves. Let’s ignore Harry Stout’s argument in Upon the Altar of the Nation that the proclamation provided a moral rationale for immoral total war. Let’s look forward 35 years from 1865 and be struck with a sobering thought. Within one generation, hope had turned to despair. Since the 1950s, African American scholars have referred to the 1890s and early twentieth century as “the nadir.” Thirty-five years after the day of Jubilee, women and men of color now experienced a low point defined by segregation, lynching, and fear.
I believe that considering Blum’s words is of the utmost importance. I am joyous about Obama’s election and I greatly anticipate Obama’s inauguration and corresponding address. However, I mustn’t, in my excitement, view Obama in a utopic manner – which I believe is a great temptation. Although Obama may be a great man (the fruits of a great President are still to be shown), we must maintain the realization that he is only a man.
As Christians, our faith and hope must constantly remain rooted in Christ. He is the only one that will never fail us.