Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Impossible Took A Long Time

It’s the Year 2009, and an African American man is about to become president of the United States of America. Maybe when I see Barrack Obama sitting behind that desk in the Oval Office, it will sink in. The Middle East is fire hot again; Economic conditions in the United States are the worst they’ve been in 80 years; we’re bogged down in two seemingly interminable wars; ordinary tax-paying citizens are underwriting the salaries and town houses of the filthy rich; and George Bush created this mess in only eight short years. If Obama doesn’t straighten it out within a few months, the press will crucify him; they have already begun, and he hasn’t even been sworn in.

An interviewer of a prestigious magazine phrased a question to me, beginning with this: “…the presidential election brought a sea of change of politics, business as usual and who knows what else in our culture.” I couldn’t let that one pass. I am proud of Mr. Obama and what he has accomplished, but I won’t allow anyone to tell me that there does not exist anywhere another African American capable of governing this country. I do submit, that Mr. Obama has many talents that, when combined, give him a uniqueness, and that he is the man for his time. But is he unique? I don’t know. We didn’t know there was such a man as he until he rose to the occasion, so there are probably others who can, and will, also seize a moment. I replied to the interviewer that Mr. Obama’s election did not bring about the change in political and social climate, but that it is a reflection of change that has taken place and that is continuing. He offers what the country needs, and the electorate recognized that fact.

But in spite of his considerable talents, Mr. Obama could have lost the election to his far less capable opponent if the electorate had feared intellectuals as it once did.. Adlai Stevenson (Also a distinguished Illinoisan intellectual and orator) lost to Eisenhower twice; Hubert Humphrey lost to Richard Nixon (a man who had already failed in several ways), And John F. Kennedy came within a few thousand votes of losing to Richard Nixon. Both Al Gore and John Kerr—superior by far in intellect and industry to George Bush—nonetheless lost a presidential election to him. Americans frequently cast aside the better candidate. NOT THIS TIME. President-elect Obama said that he stands on the shoulders of many African Americans who fought for change (a paraphrase), but in my view, for our children and our children’s children, no “shoulders” have been as broad, as strong or as powerful as those of Barrack Obama.

43 Comments:

At 10:56 PM, Blogger Linda Chavis said...

Excellent post and on point as usual

 
At 12:15 AM, Blogger Dera Williams said...

Great post Gwynne. The new President is going to need ALL of our help. He is not going to wave a magic wand and cure the country's ailments. As you said GB made this mess and it is going to take a lot.

See my blog on the other Obama.
http://derarwilliams.blogspot.com/2009/01/are-black-women-looking-for-heroine.html

 
At 3:50 AM, Blogger Dee-Dee said...

Lov es the post it reflects many of the feeling both the joy and the unrealness of the upcoming year. It just has not sunk in completely and I don't think it will until he is able to really get to the business of running the country (not that he hasn't already started). And I agree he is not the only man capable of running the country. But what made Barak if not the man but the campaign unique was the time combined with a man that understood people. He took nothing for granted campaigned to the end and let people know that he was their candidate not the party candidate or the black candidate. In a time where so many are struggling he gave the message and hope we needed.

 
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At 1:53 AM, Blogger 欣幸 said...

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Knowledge is power.............................................................

 
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At 8:46 PM, Blogger 楊儀卉 said...

當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

 
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