THE BLOG
12/06/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

With Thanks To Those Who Brought Us Here

As would be expected when something as unlikely as an African American becoming President of the United States, many deserve our gratitude.

Thanks to General Electric, who despite being entrenched as a corporate leader of the military industrial complex, gave a voice to MSNBC, giving progressive thinkers a place to turn to learn they did not stand alone.

Thanks to Time-Warner, who similarly gave us Bill Maher, and CBS for the campaign gifts of David Letterman, and through Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert.

Likewise, thanks to Arianna Huffington for creating the site: not just so you can read this post but for creating a web-home for progressive thought, comment and humor.

Thanks to the Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle and Los Angeles Times, for showing that however institutionalized, even the staunchest Republican thinkers can still vote with their conscious, intellect and sense of right.

Thanks to John Kerry and those in the 2004 Democratic National Committee who, in choosing him to deliver that convention's keynote address, plucked an Illinois State Senator running for the U.S. Senate from obscurity and into the national spotlight.

Thanks to Al Gore or whoever did invent the internet, and to Steve Jobs and all those who helped popularize the home computers, which together led to the grass roots effort to raise unprecedented moneys and the first true 21st century political campaign.

And thanks to the Tiger Woods, Chris Rocks, Michael Jordans, Oprah Winfreys, Magic Johnsons, Walter Paytons, Denzel Washingtons, Bill Cosbys and their like who through their talents and personalities showed it was okay to welcome black people into all of our living rooms and hearts.

Most important, thanks to Branch Rickey. To those who do not know, Mr. Rickey did not just break baseball's color barrier, but explained to Jackie Robinson how he had to act in order to succeed. "I want a player," Rickey told Robinson, "with guts enough not to fight back."

Obama followed the Rickey game plan to a tee. His behavior was exemplary, perfect, cautious. He never pointed to color, never accepted it as an issue while all those around him did. He didn't tit for tat, but instead took the hits and continued moving forward: always on message, always with honor and grace. My guess is that I'm not the only one thanking Mr. Rickey. I'd be surprised if the Senator and his staff never mentioned the need to follow the stoic, strong-shouldered strategy of the Brooklyn Dodger patriarch.

Relatedly, last but obviously not least, thanks to President-elect Obama. Not just for leading this nonviolent coup of everyday, ordinary Americans overthrowing a military industrial junta, but for recognizing that the work has just begun: muting the overwhelming cheers of "Yes We Did" by punctuating his outline of the challenges ahead with reminders that "Yes We Can."

Now let's go do it.