An African American little girl is often on the bus I ride to work. She's about 5, cute as a button, and rides with her elegant and attentive mother. Extroverted to the nth degree, she seems to work at catching her fellow rider's eye and smiles radiantly at anyone who smiles at her. This morning her mother's need to put gloves on her little hands got in the way, but I still got my smile.
It was a special joy to smile at her this morning. She may never remember a time in which there was doubt in anybody's mind that an African American could be president. She'll have a wonderful role model to take her smile to whatever success she has it in her to achieve.
Barack Obama is an important role model for another large group of children and adults; those of any race who had a less-than-ideal childhood. Kids raised by single parents and grandparents, kids dragged all over the world, kids whose parents were not attentive to them. Unlike the hordes of celebrating African American youth we saw on the TV last night, that's a nearly invisible group of kids. I hope those who care about them help them take the point.