I read "The Election That LBJ Won," by Richard Cohen in this morning's Washington Post.
It reminded me of a time when I was at McCallie, my high school in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Some of us at McCallie were excited enough about politics to find our way out to the airport to listen to Lyndon Johnson speak from an airplane. It was exciting stuff and fueled an interest I had in politics which unfortunately disappeared after the 1968 election.
We were a far more regional county back in the sixties. Television had not worked its magic by then. You might have said we were sheltered.
I grew up in Mount Airy, North Carolina. We had a maid, Mertha, who had been with the family many years. I can still remember the first time I really understood segregation.
Alfred had driven my mother to the Greensboro, NC airport to pick me up. I am guessing it was 1964 or 1965. For some reason we had come back through Winston-Salem, and we were going out to lunch. We got out of the car, and Alfred headed off in a different direction. I asked him if he was going to join us for lunch, and he explained to me that the place we were going did not allow blacks.
This was something had never dawned on me. Number one in the sixties we did not eat out much. Two Alfred and Mertha were really the only black people I knew well. Finally we often all had meals together at home sitting around the kitchen table.
Fast forward twenty years to 1984 when we were living in Canada. My son, who will be thirty next year, heard someone refer to his best friend as "black." I got asked what was "black."
Even in the mid-nineties I can remember going to diversity workshops for managers at Apple. I did not have to be convinced of the positive effects of diversity. One of my hires for Apple had impressed me as a student representative for us. He turned out to be one of the smartest people who ever worked for me. He just happened to be black.
I can also remember being worried when we first took our youngest daughter's friend to Hidden Valley Country Club. Her father was black and her mother Spanish. Nothing happened at the Club, but it was not exactly a melting pot.
Much has been made of the changes in our perspective being due to the younger generation. I would agree that youngsters have broken down a lot of walls.
But for me I have to say the defining moment of the changing nature of America happened in 2003 when my mother at age 93 not only hugged but also kissed her cancer doctor. He also just happened to be black.
She made a lot of progress in her life, I have no doubt whom she would have voted for today. I know her vote would have gone to the person she felt most capable. I suspect the person's color would not have mattered.
Tomorrow morning, I plan to be 100% behind our new President, no matter which one wins.
Just maybe we can make some more progress if people and the president are on the same wavelink.