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Something important about election 2008

The year was 1969. A white, middle-class friend of mine and his African-American girlfriend went to the movies to see “Doctor Zhivago” in his neighborhood. They later told me it was a very painful experience to endure the frowns and stares of disapproval each time they held hands. When the film was over, they took a cab to her house and when he walked her up to the porch, she had to tell the angry, young African-American men in her neighbor- hood that they were merely friends.

One year later, a college pal and I were in Toronto, Canada, to see a play. My friend, who was an African-American student at a Chicago University and is now an anthropology professor, confided to me as we strolled a leisurely shortcut to the theatre that this was the first time he had ever walked through a city park without being afraid for the loss of his life.

Flash forward to June of 2008. How much of what I have described has changed? Although there are many important issues to be considered in this next presidential election, one of them should be that we want our children and the next generation to live in a country where people treat each other with equal measures of consideration and respect, and dare I say in a world not ruled by fear and insecurity.



Dan Whittman

Grass Valley


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