|Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-02-17 02:00Z by Steven|
San Diego Union-Tribune
Constance M. Carroll, Chancellor
San Diego Community College District
If he could visit 21st-century America, Alexis de Tocqueville would be amazed to find Barack Obama, an African-American, as president of the United States. However, he would not be surprised to find that, despite this powerful symbolism of progress, race is still a divisive force in the country.
Following his tour of this young nation in the 19th century, Tocqueville, a French historian and political activist, published “Democracy in America” in 1835. In this book, he described slavery as “the most formidable evil threatening the future of the United States.” Aware of the growing impetus to abolish this practice, Tocqueville noted, “I see that slavery is in retreat, but the prejudice from which it arose is immovable.”
173 years later, Americans elected an African American to hold the highest office in the nation. During election eve on Nov. 4, 2008, many wept, shared their enthusiasm with friends and family across the country, and actually believed that this was it: the end of racial strife in America. Given the nation’s difficult journey from slavery and its abolition, from Jim Crow laws and their dissolution, from segregation and its demise, to the continuing civil rights struggle to eliminate the vestiges of this dark history, Barack Obama’s election was heralded by many as the start of a new era of equality and racial peace…
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