Archive for the ‘General musings’ Category

RIP Mary Travers 1936-2009

Friday, September 18th, 2009

The news hit pretty hard this morning when I popped online to see what had happened overnight and saw the announcement on the New York Times website of the death of Mary Travers of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary. She and the group of which she was a founding member had been part of my life for so very long. They were the very first music group I discovered for myself, without influence of family or friends. I took my younger sister to her very first public concert, to see Peter Paul and Mary at the Garden State Arts Center. Many years later, she and I took her children to their first major concerts, to see Peter Paul and Mary again at the Arts Center or at Wolf Trap in Virginia. One of the last concerts I went to was to see Peter Paul and Mary at the NJ Performing Arts Center.

In essence, I grew up with Mary Travers. She enriched my life by her words — spoken and sung — and by her deeds. She was part and parcel of the folk movement. She was part and parcel of the movement for peace and justice and equality throughout the 60s, and 70s, and 80s, and 90s, and on into the 21st century. She was part and parcel of my world, and my world is not as rich and full tonight as it has been til now.

I could not begin to list the songs she and her colleagues have sung that have touched my heart. From the earliest lessons asking Where Have All the Flowers Gone, to the poignant and powerful Jesus on the Wire and Don’t Laugh at Me, to the challenging Have You Gone to Jail for Justice, to the simply hilarious Going to the Zoo or I’m Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor, their music — her music — has comforted me, taught me, nudged me along, for all of these years since I was a preteen. When I lost my mother, Mary Travers’ Motherless Child was my song. In the depths of depressions in my life, her Indian Sunset (“Now there seems no reason why I should carry on. In this land that once was my land I can’t find a home”) spoke for me. When I was battling my own cancers, her — their — Sweet Survivor kept me going. Her Delivery Delayed expressed my own view of discovering the depths of love of my family. My Christmas song has long been her I Wonder as I Wander. Her Conscientious Objector helped me understand one of my brothers more than I ever had before, and she helped me understand my family members and friends who are gay better than I could have otherwise with her Home is Where the Heart Is.

So much of what I have experienced and learned and been has been reflected in the music of this group and this woman… I can hardly believe that she will not be there to take me the rest of the way… and I will miss her.

But one particular set of her lyrics sticks in my mind more than any other tonight, and I think she would have wanted it that way…

Memory moves us past each other.
Time is a ribbon without an end.
Love is the lesson we keep learning.
Death but a moment we must spend…

Photo365: July 31, 2009 – Farm Share 8

Friday, July 31st, 2009

I love going over to the organic farm on Friday mornings. There’s a bit of a sense of adventure — you never really know what the farm share will be this week — and even in the midst of all the neat orderly rows of garden, there’s always room for a few wonderfully colorful wildflowers.

Wildflower

Wildflower

This week’s share was a very far cry from those first couple of shares where the students spent some time apologizing for the fact that the weather had affected what could be planted and sowed. As I walked over towards the shed this week, there were great bins set out for squash and onions, and a sign saying to take FIVE squash and three onions.

Squash and onions

Squash and onions

I decided to be as adventurous as possible and picked five different types.

Five squashes

Five squashes

With the helps of some friends online, I was able to identify them as five types of zucchini: top light green is a Magda zucchini, middle left is a Floridor zucchini, on top (yellow with green tip) is a Zephyr zucchini, middle dark green one is a Raven zucchini, and the lighter green one at the bottom is a Revenue zucchini.

Next to the table with all the squash was a table with large baskets of greens.

Greens table

Greens table

They had two from the brassica rapa family — basically non-heading Chinese cabbages — that can be added to salads or sauteed in olive oil and garlic, called Vitamin Greens (or Vitaminna) and Tokyo bekana .

Vitamin greens

Vitamin greens

Tokyo bekana

Tokyo bekana

Plus there was what the label said was mustard greens, but I hafta say — they don’t look like ANY of the photos of mustard greens I can find online. Instead they were exactly the same size, shape and texture as the bristly greens we’ve gotten in weeks past called spectrum greens or stir-fry greens. (Since those appear to be generic names for a variety of greens, that’s not necessarily inconsistent, but…)

Mustard greens?

Mustard greens?

And as if three big baskets of greens weren’t enough, the sign said to take TWO baskets of EACH type of greens!!

And that was just outside. Inside there was yet another head of cabbage, more bunches of leaf lettuce and more leeks.

Leaf lettuce

Leaf lettuce

Leeks

Leeks

So, here in week 8, we are a far cry from where we were in, say, week 1 — and rather than having to buy more veggies to get through the week, I am now looking everywhere for ways to freeze and preserve these goodies rather than have them go to waste!

Evoking summers past

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

I’ve found myself on more than one occasion lately surprised, simply surprised, at the degree to which the sight or smell of something can be so incredibly evocative of times past. This morning I was at the Cook Student Organic Farm where I am one of those who get a share of the produce, and right outside my car door as I got out was a whole bunch of wildflowers… simple Queen Anne’s Lace. And I was instantly transported to Central Virginia, to the farm where my grandparents lived and where I spent every summer from age 4 to 14 or 15. There are prettier wildflowers, for sure, and many many that are more colorful. But this one was (and is) everywhere along the country roads of my childhood, and was one of the few flowers it was perfectly okay to pick any time anywhere without getting scolded.

I didn’t particularly like those summers at the farm when I was a kid. I was the odd man out — declared to be too young to tag along after the older cousins and yet too much older than the next bunch to fit in there. (A 10-year-old doesn’t want to be limited to what the 6- or 7-year-olds are allowed to do, but if they did what I was allowed to do, I was in trouble for leading them into mischief.) But I sure find myself missing those days now.

My grandparents are gone now. My Uncle Billy, who owned the farm, gone. My parents, gone. My Aunt Marianne, my Uncle Monte, my Uncle Barrett, my Uncle Ray… gone, gone, gone, gone. The farm itself is as good as gone… it is to be sold as part of Uncle Bill’s estate. I miss them all, and I miss what we had back in those days.

I miss sitting out under the trees at night, with a campfire, and my aunts and uncles and cousins singing multi-part harmony to old songs and hymns. “In the Garden.” “Little Brown Church in the Vale.” “Goodnight, Irene.” I miss gathering up soda bottles — we’d take them to the general store, cash them in for the deposit and buy penny candy that really cost a penny. If the haul was really good, we’d get ice cream. I miss the long days at the Louisa County pool, where we knew the grownups would tell us it was time to go when my brother’s lips turned blue with cold and the loudspeaker blared out “Walk, Don’t Run,” and “Flying Purple People Eater.” I miss being sent to the drive-in to “chaperone” much older cousins on their dates, and being dumped out on a blanket with the speaker and strict instructions to ignore ANYTHING that happened inside the car (and watching the windows steam up…).

Above all else, I miss the humor and the laughter and the unconditional love with which we were all surrounded.

They were younger, simpler, sweeter days. Days when all seemed as good as a bouquet of Queen Anne’s Lace.

Queen Annes Lace

Queen Anne's Lace

Photo365: July 24, 2009 – Farm Share 7

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Hard to believe it’s already seven weeks of this farm share! The first couple of weeks it was easy to use everything up during the week. It’s getting a bit harder now…

This week we had some of the usual suspects… chives, oregano, onions, even more sorrel (still looking for sorrel recipes!). We also had lavender…

Lavender

Lavender

…and basil (mmmmm… looking for pesto recipes now…)

Basil

Basil

There was yet more kale (more to be blanched and frozen for the winter months!)…

Kale

Kale

…and more cabbage, albeit this week a different variety, a round head rather than cone-shaped head.

Cabbage

Cabbage

There was a smidgeon more broccoli — probably needs to be turned into soup, it’s a bit old, starting to flower.

Broccoli

Broccoli

And there was a whole bunch of lettuce, including green leaf, red leaf and a really flashy type called, not surprisingly, Flashy Trout Back Lettuce (well, it is a bit speckled, no?).

Flashy Trout Back Lettuce

Flashy Trout Back Lettuce

Photo365: July 10, 2009 Farm Shares 4&5

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Last Friday, July 3rd, was the third pickup of shares from the organic farm at Cook College. It was, frankly, a little disappointing. The weather had started to improve, but hadn’t been good enough long enough to make that much of a difference in what was available.  More kale, more onions, and not a whole lot that was new. One more shot at lemon balm:

Lemon balm

Lemon balm

And there were more and larger beets.

Beets

Beets

This past week, however, summer has arrived. It hasn’t been all that warm, but it sure has been sunny and nice. So I drove over to pick up my farm share this morning with rising hope and expectation. And I wasn’t disappointed in the least.  There were more onions, and more beets, to be sure.

Beets

Beets

But for the first time there were leeks

Leeks

Leeks

and snow peas

Snow peas

Snow peas

and cabbage

Cabbage

Cabbage

and carrots

Carrots

Carrots

and even broccoli.

Broccoli

Broccoli

And I had a lovely broccoli in cheese sauce dish with my dinner tonight!

Photo365: June 12, 2009-The Farm Share

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Some time ago, I put my name on a waiting list for a share of the crop of an organic farm run by students at Rutgers University’s Cook College. This year, I made it to the top of the waiting list, and today I went to the farm in East Brunswick to pick up my first share.

The farm itself is a beautiful piece of property just off Ryder’s Lane south of the Route 1 corridor.

Cook College farm

Cook College farm

The shed where the shares are picked up is just a small building at the back of the property.

Share shed

Share shed

The students were terribly apologetic that the bad weather we’ve had limited what was available in this share. Me, I’m one person. I have no idea how I’m supposed to eat all of this. Or how to eat it (or fix it or preserve it). Or even if all of it is supposed to be edible!

First share

First share

The first share included:

1. 1 small bucket of pea shoots. Pea shoots. What the heck are pea shoots and why does somebody want me to eat flowers?

Pea shoots

Pea shoots

2. 1 bucket of spectrum greens. I had to look that up on the Internet. Turns out it’s just various greens in different sizes, shapes and colors. I don’t think there’s any standard definition of what constitutes spectrum greens, and I have no idea what the specific greens were.

Spectrum greens

Spectrum greens

3. 1 bunch of scallions. Yummy. (No picture — I’d already chopped ‘em into my lunch salad by the time I remembered I was supposed to be taking pictures…)

4. 1 bunch of kale. I’ve heard of kale. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with it. And there is a LOT of it.

Kale

Kale

5. 1 bucket of lettuce. Now that I understand.

Lettuce

Lettuce

6. Herbs, which were sage and lemon balm this time. Sage, I gather, you dry and use on things like chicken. Lemon balm? What the…???

Sage and lemon balmSage and lemon balm

It also included 1 bunch of turnips. Uh-uh. Not for me. I don’t like ‘em no matter how you fix ‘em. I left my share behind. (The farm has an arrangement with a soup kitchen in New Brunswick so even turnips won’t go to waste.)

Now I promised myself that, if I was going to do this (at several hundred dollars for the 24-week share), I was going to try to be serious about it, and at least try not to waste anything. So I spent some time on the Internet, did a bit of research, and took a few deep breaths.

First, for lunch today I had a salad. That was easy enough. I threw in some of the lettuce, all of the scallions and some of the spectrum greens, along with some grape tomatoes and some green pepper I had at home. Very nice. Very juicy. I may never look at the stuff in those plastic bags the same way again.

Dinner was a little more complex. I had done my research, so I looked carefully at everything I was given, and basically threw caution to the wind. I took some of the spectrum greens, some of the kale, all of the leaves of the lemon balm (which was starting to wilt badly since I hadn’t put it away properly after picking up the share) and some of the pea shoots (blossoms and all), chopped ‘em up, and fried ‘em in olive oil with minced garlic and salt.

Now maybe it’s just that I was hungry. And maybe it was just that you can fry ANYTHING in olive oil with minced garlic and salt and it will taste good. But one thing is for certain… Sigh… frozen veggies aren’t quite going to measure up any more…

All in all, I’d say this season is off to a very nice start.

Towards a more civil union

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

There’s a report today on MSNBC: “A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found that a majority of people questioned, by a 55-38 percent margin, oppose gay marriage. But it also found that people, by a 57-38 percent margin, support civil unions that would provide marriage-like rights for same-sex couples…”

This and other similar reports have long suggested to me that the call for gay marriage rights — a call that was used very effectively by the right-wing in past elections to damage the Democratic Party and its candidates and to greatly disadvantage the gay community — is simply the wrong call. Wrong for gays, wrong for the Democratic Party, wrong for the country.

The bottom line here is that marriage, as that word has traditionally been used, is at its very center a religious sacrament. And, quite frankly, in this secular country founded on the notion of separation of church and state, government in all its forms and permutations has simply no business recognizing, supporting or in any way being involved in a religious sacrament. It isn’t just that it shouldn’t recognize gay marriage; it shouldn’t recognize anyone’s marriage (or other religious sacrament). In other words, government shouldn’t be in the marriage business at all.

The only union government has any business recognizing is a civil union — a union that by definition creates civil rights and imposes civil responsibilities. Whether that’s a civil union of heterosexuals or homosexuals is insignificant; the key for government is that it is civil, not sacramental — secular, not religious.

If people then want to get their civil union blessed by whatever religious entity they happen to belong to, that’s all well and good. But it should be irrelevant to the institutions of government whether they do or don’t get themselves “married” by their churches. The First Amendment to the Constitution is quite clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Confining certain civil rights (all of the civil benefits that flow from the married state) to those whose unions are acceptable to the religious community is surely a “law respecting an establishment of religion” and I can — at least for purposes of argument — buy the religious community’s argument that forcing it to recognize unions it considers abhorrent as sacramentally valid would “prohibit… the free exercise” of their religion. So fine. Get “marriage” out of government and government out of “marriage.”

Forget gay “marriage”. Civil unions for all.

Photo365: March 4, 2009

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009
Ecclesiastes 3:2

Ecclesiastes 3:2

RIP Matthew P. Boylan, 1932-2009

Matthew P. Boylan was New Jersey’s Director of Criminal Justice when I first met him. As a news reporter, I covered his work and a trial or two that he personally handled. Later, when I started turning up some interesting information about the acquisition of land for a commercial project, I was able to team up with him for some investigative reporting when I was with the Daily News. When I got sued for libel, I didn’t trust the paper to represent me and got him to do it.

A few years later, when he found out I was going to law school, he hired me to work for him while I was in school. I worked for him all the way through school and then before and after my clerkship. We worked together, we fought together, we parted ways professionally when I went to the US Attorneys Office. He didn’t like the decisions I was making for my career (I suspect he had an old-fashioned attitude about women litigators), but over the many many years I knew him, he never stopped being a supporter, a confidant, a teacher, a mentor, a friend. He helped me out in more ways than I could ever begin to describe.

And Sunday afternoon Matt lost his battle for life after a massive heart attack. He would have been 77 in June. His funeral was today.

Matt was never an easy person to be around. He was a typical black Irishman, brash, bold, loud, larger than life. He was funny, he was challenging, he was opinionated and intolerant, he was kind and frustrating and infuriating and occasionally even sweet. He was demanding beyond all reason and supportive beyond all reason. I have often cherished being his friend at the same time I have been grateful that I wasn’t his child. He could be his most difficult self when he was trying to be most helpful. Being around him was never dull, never ordinary, never calm, never quiet.

He leaves a big hole in the lives of everyone who ever knew him.

Photo365: January 20, 2009

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

January 20, 2009. The bumperstickers for months have read: “January 20, 2009. End of an error.” Eight long years of George W. Bush. Eight long years of “if you dissent, you’re a traitor.” Of ignoring our core values in the name of security. Eight long years. And on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, it came to an end.

I thought long and hard about whether to try to be there in Washington for the inauguration. A new President. For the first time in our history, a black President. For the first time in eight years, a President I voted for, and supported, and felt good about. The crowds were predicted to be ridiculous. The chances of getting any kind of tickets slim to none. The weather cold, bitterly cold, with snow or at least snow flurries predicted. So what was I to do? Simple: I decided to go. To do whatever I had to, to be able to be there, to feel it, to be part of it. I was already going to be in Virginia for the birthday party for my beloved nephew and godson Duncan, so… I had to go.

The first order of business was getting tickets. More than anything else, I needed mass transit tickets. As the signs said, traffic was going to be a nightmare and for most of the city you couldn’t drive at all:

Traffic warning

Traffic warning

Thanks to StubHub and eBay, I managed to get a round trip ticket on the Fredericksburg line of the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter train and two tickets for bleacher seats at the parade (it was cheaper to buy two than to buy one). Once my brother Bill heard I had a second parade ticket, he decided he had to go too.  So we scrounged and scrounged and finally came up with a second VRE ticket, even on the same trains. So far so good…

Inaugural tickets

Inaugural tickets

Tuesday morning, we left the house well before daybreak and drove to Quantico to catch the VRE into the District. Two charter buses full of passengers had the same plan, but everyone was in good spirits as we waited for the train.

Inauguration VRE train

Inauguration VRE train

Once we got off the train at L’Enfant Plaza, it was easy: just follow the signs held up by very cold (but very happy and enthusiastic) volunteers:

Volunteer

Volunteer

We managed to find a good spot on the National Mall between the Smithsonian Castle and 12th Street. There was a Jumbotron not far ahead of us, and we could see and hear fairly well. By the time the sun rose, the National Mall was full.

National Mall as the sun rose

National Mall as the sun rose

People came alone, in pairs, in groups, in families, all looking to be part of the moment:

Family at inauguration

Family at inauguration

Inaugural montage: people

Inaugural montage: people

They came with hats and buttons and jackets and flags and signs to show their views:

Inaugural montage: signs

Inaugural montage: signs

Everywhere you looked, there was security of one kind or another:

Inaugural montage: security

Inaugural montage: security

And it was cold. Cold cold cold. Low to mid-20s, maybe. A bit of wind. No snow, however… (though it clouded up and seemed a bit threatening for the last few minutes of the Bush Presidency, it was otherwise clear and completely clear and sunny by the time the new Vice President and President were sworn in!) And we ended up standing there in the cold from before 8 a.m. to just before noon when the ceremony got underway. People did what they had to, to try to stay warm.

Cold

Cold

None of it — not the cold, not the security — dampened the enthusiasm in the slightest:

Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm

People paid a great deal of attention to what we could all see and hear on the Jumbotron. And folks made it clear where they stood by their reactions to what they could see and hear. When Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut was shown, he was soundly and roundly booed. When former Vice President Al Gore appeared, he got a nice round of applause.

No real reaction, nothing negative, for either Cindy or John McCain. (As far as we could tell, Sarah Palin wasn’t there — she surely wasn’t shown on the Jumbotron — I’d have loved to have heard the crowd’s reaction to her.) Nothing much by way of reaction to former President Bush or former President Carter. Some polite applause, nothing else. That all changed when the last former President appeared: former President and Mrs. Clinton were cheered, loud and long.

When Vice President Dick Cheney was wheeled into the viewing area, a whole section of the crowd started singing the Darth Vader theme song!!! And when President Bush was shown, in the tunnel area approaching the viewing area and then emerging into the viewing area, the crowd made it quite clear when it stood. As a group, they sang: “Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey… goodbye!” (I hear that the media regarded that as tacky. It may have been, but where we were standing it was obviously heartfelt and spontaneous.)

Every time any of the Obamas appeared on the Jumbotron, the crowd reacted with applause, cheers and flag-waving. Michelle Obama was warmly greeted, and the Obama girls were definite crowd pleasers. (I heard later that both girls were wearing J.Crew outfits — and that the J.Crew website crashed that afternoon with the press of people trying to get those outfits for their kids!)

Everyone quieted down nicely as Joseph Biden of Delaware was sworn in as Vice President of the United States:

Biden sworn in

Biden sworn in

And then the moment  came… the moment everyone had been waiting for:

I, Barack Hussein Obama, ...

"I, Barack Hussein Obama, ..."

And the crowd on the Mall went wild, throwing hands and confetti into the air, waving flags and screaming:

The crowd went wild

The crowd went wild

People applauded. They grinned. They sang. They hugged each other. They shouted Obama’s name. The crowd noise was so deafening, you literally couldn’t hear yourself think. It was wonderful.

Hugs and cheers

Hugs and cheers

Smiles and cheers

Smiles and cheers

We never managed to make it over to the parade route. Though we had carefully scoped out the route to walk using public information that emphasized where to be able to cross Pennsylvania Avenue, what nobody ever reported was that Constitution Avenue would be closed. Since the public info said you had to be through security by 1 p.m., and we realized there was no way we could make that, we decided to walk around, get souvenirs for both of Bill’s boys, and see what we could see. And one of the things we saw was Bush’s last flight on Marine One as he came down the Mall and back up and off one last time to Andrews AFB.

Bushs last ride

Bush's last ride

Eventually, we decided to start making our way out of the District. That meant we had to make our way past the Capitol towards Union Station. That building sure looked good all decked out:

The Capitol all dressed up

The Capitol all dressed up

We had to walk a convoluted route to get to the train station,and when we got around to the side of the Capitol where the parade was supposed to start from, we saw that the military honor guard was still on the steps and the parade hadn’t yet started. So we did get to see some of the parade (the groups were standing there, shivering and literally pale with the cold):

Parade marchers

Parade marchers

We couldn’t imagine what was delaying things, but just kept on the long cold route to the train station, where we had to wait out in the cold to finally be allowed in, and then had to wait for the train home. That’s when we found out that Senator Kennedy had collapsed at the Congressional Luncheon and that’s why the parade had been so terribly delayed. We felt a whole lot better about not making it to the bleachers then — we would have missed the train if we’d waited for the parade! So it all worked out in the end, I suppose.

And it was worth every bit of cold and discomfort and annoyance. It was a moment I never expected to see in my lifetime, a moment that made me so very very proud to be an American. As I said to my brother as we waited for the train, we have a President now who is smart and capable and who speaks English with proper sentences and words that exist and make sense. How bad can the next eight years be?

The dream fulfilled

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

It was August 28, 1963. The place was the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. “I have a dream,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” It is hard not to think, today, November 5, 2008, that that dream has been — at least in part — fulfilled.

Last night, just after 11 p.m. Eastern Standard time, this nation did something I personally never expected to happen in my lifetime. It elected Barack Obama — son of a Kenyan father and a white mother — President of the United States. It did so resoundingly. The electoral vote will end up being at least 338, with only 270 needed (North Carolina is still too close to call). The popular vote is 62.7 million versus 55.5 million – a margin of more than seven million votes.

I watched last night as an administrator at Howard University, a traditionally black university in Washington D.C., broke down and was unable to speak when asked what this election meant to her and her students. I watched as more than a million people (my family members among them) gathered in and near Grant Park and shouted, over and over, “Yes, we can!” I watched as state after state that had been red so often in the past turned blue on the map. New Hampshire. Ohio. Virginia. Indiana. Colorado.

Virginia. Where so many of my siblings and their children voted, many for the first time, and for Barack Obama. Where I plan eventually to retire, and have often said I wasn’t sure I would be comfortable in a state so very red. And Virginia… Virginia went blue.

Indiana, where my older brother and his family live (okay, so they’re really Chicago transplants, but Indiana went blue!).

Colorado. My native state. Colorado went blue!

Iowa. New Mexico. Nevada. Florida. Blue blue blue blue.

This election means a lot to me. I am a great believer in the separation of powers doctrine, and in the need for the courts to ensure that justice is done for all, rich and poor. I have fretted and worried as Justice after Justice of our Supreme Court has been chosen more for right-wing ideology than for any other reason, and as our Justice Department has been turned into more of an agency for securing Republican elections than for securing justice for our people. I don’t think I have to worry about the Court or the Justice Department any more.

But I have a great number of friends and family members for whom, I am certain, this election means so much more. Many of them, like Barack Obama, do not have white skins. They know, only too well, what it means to grow up in a country where the first thing people noted was their skin color and, too often, the last thing was the content of their character. They have nonetheless worked hard, educated themselves, raised good and decent children, and kept their hope and faith alive that there would someday be a better day. I think particularly of my friend Sheila who can now say to her son Alexander that he really can grow up to be President.

Many of the others are young people, both white and non-white, who have grown up confused and dismayed at what they have seen as the utter hypocrisy of their elders, who have so often mouthed the words of our Founding Fathers (“all men are created equal”) but acted so very differently. They had begun to develop a cynical thick skin at our political process. But I think they can all say to themselves, this morning, that there truly is a power in the individual vote, that they really can make a difference.

For all of them, and for all who truly believe that we are not white Americans, not black Americans, not Hispanic or Native American, not gay, not straight, not red and not blue — for all who believe that we are all, simply, Americans… this day is for you. For myself, I am simply overjoyed that I have lived long enough to see it.