I am grateful to Bush for just one thing only

Joe Crews

The dreadful night is darkest just before the dawn

Insights- by Joe Howard Crews - Jan. 20, 2009

If that little boy had not been born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961, we don't know what the future would hold for our beloved nation. But he was born, he became president today, and we still do not know. But today, Inauguration Day, we dared to dream and to have hope again for our country. We do know, however, that the tragedy and shame which befell this nation because of that little white boy born on July 6, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut. In a tale so improbable that only reality could invent it, he became the 43rd president of the greatest nation on earth and nearly destroyed it.

But Barack Hussein Obama was born, and into an humble home, nourished with love, raised by a single mom from Kansas. But there were legions of young black men like him - bright, talented, connected to the good forces of the Universe. So we wonder and wonder. We will always wonder how did this young black man become president of the United States when we all knew it could never happen in our lifetime, if ever. Oh, yes, many factors converged to make this a remote possibility. He had the ambition and the drive. He had the confidence and leadership. But those were not enough -- not for a black man. Everybody knew that.

Personally I am a bit turned off all this talk about Barack Obama being the first "black" president. It grates on my ear as being racially tinted. I do not see him as a "black president". Where I grew up, in Mississippi and Louisiana, we knew who was a negro. It was anybody who had even a drop of "black blood" in him. New Orleans was more tolerant of mixed bloods. Quadroons (1/4 black) were partly acceptable in society, partly because their skin was actually more beautiful than pale white. Marriage with an Octoroons (1/8th black) was not regarded as miscegenation.

I grew to despise this racism. A comment made to me years ago by a black woman in Natchez opened a new window to my mind. Miss Edna, who worked for my sister, was not a popular woman among some whites. Miss Edna was very black. And proud of it, but not because there was not even one drop of white blood in her veins. She was not racist. She was just proud of who she was, because God made her black because He wanted her black. It was her blessing.

Miss Edna was way ahead of me back then. I began to understood that one should be proud of how God made us only when I finally came to understand that God made me gay, and that was my blessing from God. I believe and understand this so completely now, decades later, that I was surprised by Oprah Winfrey a week ago LINK , when one of her guest, the Rev. Ed Bacon, said something Oprah says she has never heard a minister say. "Being gay is a gift from God. But our culture doesn't understand that." To further explain his comment, the Rev. Bacon told Oprah via satellite. "I meant exactly what I said. It is so important for every human being to understand that he or she is a gift from God."

I was shocked that Oprah was shocked. After all, Oprah is black. How could she understand that being black (or part black) is a blessing from God, but not understand that being Gay is also a blessing from God? It gave me pause. We are all different, and we all deal with our own realities, but this does not guarantee that we can understand the realities of others, even those we like. That requires a higher level of consciousness. The gay community must understand this if we are going to gain acceptance for same-gender marriage. I like to think that I understand blacks, but know it is not fully possible. There is one reason I'm especially comfortable with Obama: I don't see him as black. But how do blacks see gays?

As an amusing

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