The biggest question with regard to Barack Obama’s candidacy is: Is America ready for a black president? My gut reaction, sadly, is no. But I think that Barack Obama is clearly ready to be president, and for America to truly move forward we need to elect him as our next president. Sen. Obama represents the next generation of leadership, someone with knowledge of the past and the advances and mistakes that have been made there but free of the sort of legacy that makes someone just a little too gun shy to be transformational. After the destruction done to our national psyche, our global image, and all of our lives by the current leadership team, we need someone like Sen. Obama to put us back on the right path and lead us out of the valley of fear.
Unlike some in the race, Sen. Obama has made the idea of American unity one of the central principles that guide him. While I am a fierce partisan, I have never liked the idea of a 50% president. It is simply unhealthy for our democracy to have a leader who acts as if half of the country doesn’t exist. Not that he disagrees with them on principle, but actively governs and campaigns as if they are the enemy. Our union does not work with that sort of divisive leadership at the very top. If Barack Obama is elected president, that will likely be the most important task he has. America has done awesome, powerful things when it works together – like winning a world war or going to the moon – and accomplishes little of nothing when we are actively encouraged to be hostile by the presidency.
For him to make it, however, Sen. Obama will have to demonstrate the one element lacking in his campaign so far: killer instinct. He must demonstrate that his campaign will not repeat the errors of Gore and Kerry, and while standing for unity, not allow the venom of the opposition to hang unchallenged in our collective consciousness. Every move requires a countermove, preferably he will act rather than react.
When I thought about supporting Barack Obama for president, I considered his positions and the content of his character above all. What he says and what he does are by far the most important elements. But the fact that he is a black man cannot be ignored. It is not something to be papered over nor should it serve as a substitute for actual skill and ability. But it is there and it is significant. As a black man living in America I would like to be able to point out to my future children that the dream of being leader of the free world is not a pipe dream. I would like to throw off the cynicism so many of us have internalized when it comes to how far a black person can truly go in America. It can’t hurt for the world and especially this country to collectively get a kick in the butt on this issue, and since Barack Obama is already qualified to be president: why not him?
On January 20, 2009, I want to see Barack Obama raise his hand and take the oath making him the most powerful human being on the planet. Barack Obama for President.