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Hope’s got my vote

I’m planning to vote for Obama – in part because he’s black.

I want a black person to be president of this country. But why?

Payback for enslavement of a people? No; but if having a black president ameliorates even a little bit of the racial pain in this country, I’m all for that.

Worldwide perception? Sure, a black president might give our reputation a boost in the arena of worldwide opinion, but no, that’s not it either.

I think, really, it’s simply that having a black American president is an idea whose time has come, and fortunately, a remarkable candidate has come along at just the right time.

There are other reasons Obama’s got my vote, his stance on health care and a woman’s right to choose among them. But there’s also the X factor: white or black, Republican or Democrat, experienced enough or not – Obama’s got major mojo.

I don’t have anything against Clinton; but I don’t have anything for her either. I dig the idea of a woman president, but not as much as I dig the idea of a black president. Even if Clinton were black, I wouldn’t vote for her – we just don’t connect. She’s powerful, attractive, funny, and smart, and I admit she got to me a bit up there in New Hampshire with the cracking voice and the teary eyes; but still, not enough to change my mind.

Edwards is okay, but I want another good ‘ole Southern boy in the White House just about as much as I want a fox milling around the hen house. Sorry, but the time for that idea has come and gone on more than one occasion. Bill Clinton with his drawled-out lies and G.W. with his drawn-out wars are enough already.

Change is the big buzzword these days, but I don’t think folks in Iowa and New Hampshire voted for change. I think they voted for the candidate that made them feel the most hope — hope for themselves and hope for this country.

Hope that we’re still a nation that doesn’t just gripe and complain about how bad things are. Hope that we’re still a nation with the resolve and grit and faith and unity to make things better. Hope that we’re finally a nation that has grown past its troubled history of racial trauma and gender inequality.

Americans want to be Americans again. We want to fight noble wars. We want to take care of the health and hunger and housing of our own citizens. We want to stand proud before the world.

However far Obama makes it in his bid for presidency, it’s hard not to acknowledge that his running has almost single-handedly lit a fire under the American public’s backside. For the first time in my memory, there’s a palpable energy and urgency among the general populace – maybe we’re finally waking up to our responsibilities as citizens. It’s about time.

And for the first time in my life, a presidential candidate – Obama — has made me feel a rare, thrilled rush of something that took me a little while to recognize … something called hope.

Hope not just that the guy I happen to like will become president, but hope for my country’s future.

And hope’s got my vote.

Posted on January 9th, 2008Comments RSS Feed

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