On September 25, 1962, Governor Ross Barnett blocked the door of the University of Mississippi, thumbing his nose at the federal government by preventing James Meredith from entering the campus (more here). In about an hour’s time, exactly forty-six years and a day after Gov. Barnett’s infamous display of white supremacist intransigence, Senator Barack Obama will be an honored guest at Ole Miss.

Times are hard right now. I have moments in which I fear for the Republic’s future. And this campaign season has been ludicrous, a kind of funhouse mirror distorting our political institutions. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the strides we’ve made as a nation in less than half a century. Perhaps tonight we can gaze upon Sen. Obama’s candidacy as another kind of mirror, reflecting the better angels of our nature.

Enjoy the debate. If you have the time and inclination, let us know what you think.