I awoke and turned on the radio this morning near the beginning of President Obama's eloquent tribute at the Mandela funeral. Even with the limitations of radio, it was obvious that there were tens of thousands of people in attendance and they were jubilant - hanging on every word and phrase of America's first President of African descent. Our President and the South Africans were obviously connecting to a degree that perhaps no other foreign leader could ever expect to achieve.
Obama was at his very best - and the mourners were completely enthralled. Their world began changing in dramatic ways under the inspired leadership of Nelson Mandela, and the presence of a wildly popular black American President at the podium was emblematic of that change.
And meanwhile back in America, the country's less tolerant citizens had to be content with grinding their teeth and snarling in silence lest they be accused of racism. They stayed fairly quiet right up until the point when one mourner at the funeral, Barack Obama, shook hands with another mourner, Cuba's President Raul Castro. Then, given an opening that wasn't too overtly racial, the tea-baggers let the dogs out and the noise began.
I read a quote on Twitter today that I think sums up the current political situation in America: "The dogs are barking, but the caravan rolls on."
The caravan is rolling. The achievements of Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama demonstrate just how far it has rolled in a few brief decades. We are living in promising times.