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Letter from the Editor

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The best bumper sticker I've seen in recent days read: "I Voted for the Irish Guy — Brock O'Bama." For the record, I voted for him, too. And I hope that by the time you read this, the Irish Guy is our president-elect.

That said, this has been the longest, ugliest presidential campaign I can remember. But maybe it was necessary to purge the U.S. from its final and biggest racial hurdle. If this country can elect a black president, anything seems possible, even burying some of the bitterness and anger of this campaign. I'm ready to say farewell forever to "Grampy McSame," "Caribou Barbie," and "Barack Hussein Obama, the terrorist, socialist, Marxist, etc."

The race was summarized by Will Ferrell, speaking as President Bush on Saturday Night Live, as being between "the hot lady and the Tiger Woods guy." Tiger Woods is an apt analogy, but, as a sports fan, I think more of Jackie Robinson, who transcended baseball's racial barrier by sheer talent and force of will. Robinson was advised by Dodger general manager Branch Rickey that he would have to be more than just a talented athlete to succeed. He would also have to be strong enough to avoid open confrontation when subjected to the hostility that would come his way. He did so with grace and courage.

Obama has managed to do the same, for the most part, even though his candidacy unearthed some of this country's most rabid racists. On the occasion of his grandmother's death, one day before the election, right-wing websites were filled with comments suggesting that Obama had "timed her death" or "terminated" her as a November surprise to win votes.

It was vile stuff, but purging racism from our culture isn't easy. We've come a long way from the days of Jackie Robinson, but only a week ago, two young white separatists were arrested for plotting to assassinate Obama and murder black school children. As I write this, white-power advocates are gathering for a "European-American Unity and Rights Conference" in nearby Olive Branch, Mississippi. One of the prominent participants is a Memphian who hosts a racist radio program called "Political Cesspool." Lord, deliver us from such cretins.

I think I speak for most of us when I say it's long past time to climb out of the political cesspool. We need to move beyond fear-mongering, racial divisiveness, and pandering to our basest instincts. It's time to put our dark days behind us and dare to hope for better times ahead. A change is going to come, God willing.

Bruce VanWyngarden

brucev@memphisflyer.com

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