Editorial: The morning after

The Beachcomber goes to bed, as we say in the trade, Tuesday mornings — in this week’s case, hours before the results of one of the most closely watched elections in decades. So we write this not knowing who the next leader of our remarkable country is — but with little else on our minds.

What can we say about this election hours before the polls close and the political placards land in the recycling bins? That it’s been a remarkable process, a roller coaster of a ride and at times a delicious diversion from the tedium of daily life. That it’s brought millions of people over 50 to YouTube and, it appears, millions of young people into the political process for the first time in their lives.

We also know, whatever happens, that it’s been an historic and profoundly inspiring process — and an almost unfathomable one for those of us who have witnessed the painful role of racism in our country.

Among the photos making the rounds is one of Sen. Barack Obama addressing tens of thousands of people in St. Louis, with the The Old Courthouse gleaming in the distance. It’s noteworthy, an e-mail correspondent wrote, because it was on the steps of that courthouse that slaves were once auctioned and within its walls that Dred and Harriet Scott sought a petition for their freedom — a petition thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court with the words that blacks were “an inferior order.”

Obama has helped to drive a stake through the heart of our country’s ignominious past. He has reshaped our political landscape. Regardless of Tuesday’s results, this election has heralded a new day in America.

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