Buckle in and hold on for what promises to be a wild two-month ride to Nov. 4. If you have even a murmur of a political heartbeat, the events of the last week must have roused a bit of palpitation.

Buckle in and hold on for what promises to be a wild two-month ride to Nov. 4. If you have even a murmur of a political heartbeat, the events of the last week must have roused a bit of palpitation.

Was it only five days ago that Hillary Clinton exhorted the Democratic faithful to follow her lead in support of Barack Obama and that Ted Kennedy roused himself from a hospital bed to come to the aid of his fellow party members? It seems so much has happened since.

Thursday night, Obama put his oratorical skills on display for a football stadium filled with supporters and a worldwide television audience. He called on America to cast the eight years of the Bush administration behind them and to reach for the dream of equality and, yes, hope that this country was founded on. Forty-five years to the day after Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, we saw that dream in the flesh, accepting the nomination of his party to run for the most powerful position in the land — and the world.

The echoes had barely faded when John McCain delivered his own thunderclap, nominating a little-known governor from Alaska to join him on the Republican ticket. If McCain's campaign advisors hoped to steal the spotlight from Obama, they succeeded, for better or worse. It's doubtful 10 percent of the U.S. public could have told you who Sarah Palin was on Thursday, yet on Friday she stood an election away from being a heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States.

McCain's choice is an affirmation itself of King's call for equality. Regardless of the outcome on Nov. 4, the United States will for the first time have an African American or a woman as one of the two nationally elected leaders of this country. The chains are breaking, the glass ceiling shattering, the future filled with the possibilities that we are indeed all created equal, that we all can aspire to the highest positions of the land, that we will not be held back by the color of our skin or by the accident of our gender.

Those are high-flying and hardly original words. But the events of the past week do mean that we are a step closer to realizing real equality. We have a long, long way to go, but the gate barring that road has been pushed open.

The Republican convention lies ahead and will no doubt rally the GOP faithful with its own moments of drama. Then the battle for the hearts and votes of Americans will be rejoined in all its passion, power and ugliness.

This race is too close to call, but we think the events of late August make it safe to bet that it won't be boring.