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By Meg Luther Lindholm, Published January 23 2009

Obama brings us to a higher place

President Barack Obama’s inauguration brings equality to the highest office in the land. This doesn’t mean that discrimination is over. But one cannot underestimate what has been achieved. The road to this moment stretches back to slavery when African-Americans fled toward freedom at risk of death. Then came the marching, the boycotting, demonstrating and campaigning to achieve this last pinnacle of equality.

Obama, as president of our country, has brought all of us with him to a higher, better place. Now, no one can make the claim that blacks somehow aren’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough, motivated enough, ambitious enough – or anything else enough.

Obama was brilliant to recognize how we separate ourselves from each other. How we label each other as inferior along lines of race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. And how false this labeling is in the face of the one great commonality – our humanity.

It’s interesting that even in the face of this victory – this giant leap forward for humankind – we still label Obama an African-American. The fact is he is as much a white American as an African-American. But our field of vision is still rooted within traditional classifications.

One of the exciting prospects of Obama’s win is that it will get us to stretch our thinking – to reinvent our categories into ones that are far larger and more inclusive than they were previously.

I’m hopeful that Obama’s concept of inclusiveness will be global. And that the result will be civilization’s movement forward, toward enlightenment and peace, rather than backwards into hatred and destruction. We have to use this moment as a catalyst to keep evolving away from divisions that kill toward a recognition that no matter our differences we are one and each one of us is precious.