Tonight, Joe Biden accepted his party's nomination as Vice President, to run with nominee Barack Obama, who speaks tomorrow night in Denver.
However, as good a running mate as Biden is, I think Obama's real running mate is history itself. The first African-American nominee of a major American political party. A man whose father was from Kenya, and whose white mother raised him herself with the help of her parents. A black man with the unlikely name of Barack Hussein Obama, running for President. If this isn't the unfolding of history, a history with a new face, a new contour, a new expectation of how things go, I don't know what is.
History itself is Obama's running mate, and partner, and advisor. History itself is the thing with which he must contend, the thing he must convince with his oratory and policies, the thing he must both respect and challenge. But it's not his personal history that accompanies him on the upcoming campaign trail. It's our history, the history of the American voter, that stands with him on every podium at which he speaks in the coming months. It's our history that will be challenged, tested, wooed. It's a nation's history that will be made and, perhaps, re-made, in a new, 21st-century image.
Yes, history was made tonight, when Obama became the Democratic presidential nominee. And so he begins his campaign with his new partner, new constant companion, new (and truest) running mate: American history--as conflicted, complicated, disheartening, inspiring, and surprising an entity as any living, breathing person.
Only in November will we know whether the team of Obama and history itself can work together in such a way as to move them both forward.