When sports athletes scores and win big titles, millions cheer as if that victory actually means something in their lives. A World Series champion team, winning at Wimbledon, the World Cup and all those consuming distractions do absolutely nothing to improve our quality of life.
In fact, the multi-million contracts exacted by this first baseman or that running back has a direct impact on our television cable or satellite bills, how much the hot dogs cost at the stadium and even the price of the game ticket itself.
Names like Manny Ramírez, “Papi” Ortiz, Tom Brady and a slew of others are cottage industries for selling an assortment of products like jackets, mugs and keychains that enrich them further. City governments even go as far as directing tax dollars to pay for the construction of multi-million dollar stadiums to be built in their own backyard.
And now, finally, we are living in a time when names like Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor are also becoming cottage industries. But instead of losing ourselves in their particular and personal triumphs, their triumphs truly are our own as well.
As president, Barack Obama has instilled in the country a sense that hope is not only a noun, but also a verb. President Obama is making decisions that place him in the pantheon of the nation’s so-called “Founding Fathers.” Through his governance, he is this generation’s founding father. He joins many Civil Rights Movement leaders from Malcolm X to MLK Jr. to Medgar Evers to Rosa Parks to César Chavez to many more, whose courageous struggle pressured reluctant presidents like JFK to begin acknowledging that equal rights is not negotiable.
And now, if Judge Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a Supreme Court justice, she will join Obama as a founding member of the country’s new direction to form “a more perfect union.”
One day, names like Obama and Sotomayor will be seen on T-shirts and mugs and keychains. They are the true victors because when they win, we all do in real tangible ways and not momentarily.
This is a proud moment in history.