"I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible."

— Barack Obama

It is a terrific thing that the Democratic Party is about to nominate a black man for president.

What will be even more terrific is when no one feels the need to even bring up the issue of color.

For now, though, even if Hillary Clinton was your choice to become the first woman nominee, there's plenty of reason to celebrate.

America, or at least the left side of America, has chosen, for the first time in history, an African-American as the presumptive nominee to run for president on a major party ticket.

With Barack Obama's mathematical clinching of the Democratic nomination last Tuesday and with Clinton's concession over the weekend, for the first time in 219 years and 56 elections, dating all the way back to George Washington vs. John Adams in 1789, a non-white is one of our top two finalists for president.

We'll overlook for now the fact that Obama, whose mother is a white woman from Kansas and father is a black man from Kenya, is also half-white.

We'll also overlook that Obama is not African-American, at least not by the classical definition. His roots only go back to the University of Hawaii, circa 1960, where his father, a graduate student, met his mother, an undergraduate student, and they married and produced him. So he is an American with African roots, but those African roots do not trace to a slave ship.

But such nuances shouldn't obfuscate the obvious: A person who is considered black, who is married to an African-American, whose skin color would have kept him out of at least half of the hotels in this country as recently as 60 years ago, who, back when he was born, would have had a hard time even voting, let alone running for office, in many of the Southern states he carried in the recent primaries — in short, a person who could have stepped off a slave ship and been put to work on a plantation in the 1700s — is one of two presumptive major party candidates running for President of the United States.

It turns out it really is true: Anyone (who meets the requirements) can run for president in this country.

We really are a melting pot.

As Obama himself said, nowhere else is this story even possible.

The fact that it took a while to happen is lamentable. The fact that it happened at all makes it one of America's finest moments.


Lee Benson's column runs Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please send e-mail to benson@desnews.com and faxes to 801-237-2527.