Once you contribute to the Obama campaign, you've got a daily email friend. Sometimes I find the requests for additional donations off-putting.
They wanted me to max out our pre-nomination giving (deadline is midnight tonight). At first I wasn't sure whether we could afford it.
But then I thought of watching Obama's historic nomination by acclamation yesterday. Many black delegates to the convention were moved to tears. How far this country has come, they told a CNN reporter.
Oh, yes. For sure.
Laurel and I were talking last night about the civil rights movement in the '60s, which, being of a certain age, we can remember with teen-aged clarity.
She said, "That wasn't so long ago – when blacks had to use separate drinking fountains in the South. And now a black man is the Democratic nominee for president of the United States."
I did a little math in my head. "Over forty years; that's quite a while. We're pretty old. To lots of Americans this is ancient history, the Jim Crow era."
It's amazing, really. And disgustingly shameful. That well past the midpoint of the 20th century a large portion of the United States was still blatantly treating blacks as second class humans.
So when I pushed a "Support the Ticket" button on an Obama web site contribution page, sending my donation off into cyberspace, I felt that I was doing a lot more than helping a presidential campaign.
With those dollars, I was saying I'm sorry.
Not that I was personally responsible for the discrimination that minorities have had to struggle against. Though in a way I am.
Watching Clinton make the motion to have Obama nominated by acclamation, I thought back to my high school days in central California.
How us white kids who lived in Three Rivers, up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, would sit on the bus that took us to Woodlake Union High School, down in the San Joaquin valley, and make fun of the Hispanic neighborhoods that we'd pass.
Except we didn't call them "Hispanics."
They were spics, taco-benders, other names I can't recall. I wasn't one of the leading name-callers, but I didn't speak back to those who did. No one did. We all were passive, if not active, accomplices in looking down on a Mexican culture that we couldn't care less about understanding.
We weren't as bad as white Southerners. Bad enough, though.
I can't undo the past. I can't apologize to the Hispanic classmates who we made fun of. (It was a two-way street though; most of the Spanish I learned in high school consisted of swear words directed at us Anglos in the locker room.)
However, I can support Obama. It's something. Not enough.
But something. Because as I heard black delegates say yesterday, this is more than an election; it's a movement. A movement toward genuine equality.