Dan Drezner ’90:

As the moment of the inauguration approaches today, my mind keeps traveling back to an argument I had when I was a second year in college.

In a political science course, I got into a disagreement with a guest lecturer from the local peace and justice center, who was leading a discussion on the future of race relations. I remember her asking me, as a way of demonstrating the abject lack of progress in race relations, whether I thought there would be a black president in my lifetime. The tone of her question radiated the sense that, unless I answered “no,” I was a naive fool who understood little about America.

And, of course, I said “yes” — not because I was trying to be contrarian, but because I genuinely believed it to be true. I remember her shaking her head sadly from side to side and smiling ruefully. I bet Mark Penn shook his head the same way early last year.

I hope, when Obama is sworn in, that she’s smiling for a different reason.

Indeed. But which political science course? Who was the guest lecturer? EphBlog readers loves the details behind Williams reminiscences.

I recall similar incidents. Conservatives (in the Williams context) like Dan and me have a great faith in the wonder that is America. I believe that there is no fairer more decent society on Earth, especially when it comes to judging people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. An African-American president is not surprising. It was inevitable.

Good luck to President Obama and all the Ephs working for him. There is much to do.

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