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Commentary: Election of Barack Obama

By Fernando Dubove, KERA Commentator

Dallas, TX –

For those of us who voted for Barack Obama, this election will be the one that stays with us forever and defines my generation. I voted absentee a week ago, mostly to avoid the long lines I was sure would arise on November 4. As it turned out, I was in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, at an immigration hearing, on election day. I finished the case with a couple of hours to spare before my return flight to Dallas. So I had my cab driver take me to the Lorraine Hotel, where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated 40 years ago, and now the sight of a civil rights museum.

The Lorraine Hotel is set off a main street, the alley way leading to it closed off to traffic. The Hotel is frozen in time, two vintage cars parked in the parking lot. The hotel's facade looks like the iconic black and white picture of Dr. King lying in the balcony, moments after he's been shot, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Rev. Jesse Jackson, pointing in the directions from where the shots came.

It was early and quiet; election day was just beginning, the outcome still 12 hours away. Standing alone in front of the balcony, I sent a silent prayer to Dr. King, thanking him for bringing America to this day. I asked him if he had ever imagined that this day would come in only 40 years.

I reflected on his sacrifice. John McCain is a patriot and hero for the torment he suffered as a POW in Hanoi serving our country. And Senator McCain was fortunate to come home, and found other ways to serve our country, allowing him to be a part of this historical election. Martin Luther King didn't get to return from his war and service for his country. But his ultimate sacrifice as a patriot for our country directly made Barack Obama's day possible.

And finally, I asked Dr. King, and God, to watch over and protect this man, and his message. Then I wiped a couple of tears, and walked back to my awaiting cab driver, a Somalian who entered this country eight years ago as a refugee, and was now a U.S. citizen, voting in his first election.

Fernando Dubove is an immigration attorney in Dallas.

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