Healing Old Wounds

President-elect Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008.(AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) AP Photo/David Guttenfelder

This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.
I have tears in my eyes this morning. They are not tears of joy.

I grew up in a household where racism was the norm. The men were proud of their prejudices.

My mother though, believed in grace, the idea that God loved everyone equally.

I tended to side with my mother. We lived in an all white town, and couldn't figure out why so many people could be so certain of their hatred.

It's toxic of course, those kinds of emotions. If you live around it long enough, you will be affected by it.

Even if you think you're immune. You get tumors, spots of indifference, or callousness.

No matter how much intellectual chemotherapy you perform, it's hard to make those spots go away.

So when Barack Obama became president-elect, many of us wept. He stands as repudiation to the prejudice and sins of our ancestors.

And while his election absolves nothing, it is the beginning of a catharsis, and an opportunity to finally heal old sad wounds.
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