Obama: I Will Be Your President Too
President elect Barack Obama spoke the words, “I will be your President too,” as he stood before a jubilant crowd in Chicago’s grant park on election night. He spoke these words to those whose votes and support he had failed to garner. All Americans are Americans nonetheless. This may well have been the most telling phrase embedded with his moving comments that historic evening.
There can be no questioning that the convergence of events blended with social progress and an American ideological awakening were the basis for our new President’s rise to power. Still, I am compelled to consider and appreciate not only what this event symbolizes but what it means in real practical terms. I, like many other Americans, am pleased and proud of what we have accomplished. The world has now borne witness to this great nation’s social coming of age. It is my belief that the inevitability of such an event was embedded within this nation’s destiny. Yet the improbability of the emergence of this leader at a time when this country faces crippling challenges of tremendous magnitude is a stunning paradox.
I have listened for nearly two years as pundits and politicians, intellectually sequestered in political darkness continued to misunderstand and misrepresent the events that America has seen unfold. The experts have failed to accurately predict outcomes, impacts and reactions. As did President elect Obama’s opponents in the campaign season, they have been unwilling or unable to truly appreciate and subsequently respond to the mood of this nation.
There are two marvelous intangibles that have taken hold among the masses of our people. There is the desire for political change that would fuel opportunities for a better way of life, and secondly, there has been an ideological and social change that had not previously been put to any form of litmus test. Traditional political thinking and the associated apparatus have been rendered obsolete by those who call themselves political experts.
As the nation blossomed and galvanized, the politicos found themselves ill equipped to see social advancement through their institutionalized blindness. The media and political operatives, including the Congress, continue to believe that archaic tactics of past generations are the fuel of effective politics and the only methods necessary for shaping outcomes. We now know that America aspires to a new level of citizenship that incorporates both political responsibility and a trans-generational rejection of matters of race as a significantly limiting aspect of American existence.
The election of our new President has indelibly stamped America with a new social DNA that reflects only the colors of our flag rather than the color of our skin. What is more, the ground swell of this new and welcoming American culture continues to gain intensity. Americans from all quarters, of all hues and stripes continue to be awakened by the symbolism of this historic event. They are also coming to understand that the new President meant those words that he spoke in Grant Park.
Barack Obama is committed to being an American President for all people. As such, I believe that he will be hugely successful and enjoy tremendous continued support. Americans realize that Obama believes in doing the right thing. As a single small example, the well known and often controversial pastor, Rick Warren, will be providing the invocation at the inauguration of our 44th President. Any number of individuals could, and in some cases have, found reasons to attack this selection. Blacks, Gays and Lesbians, atheists and liberals have found cause to speak out against the Warren choice. But this choice represents exactly what Mr. Obama meant when he spoke those words in Grant Park. Unquestionably, Pastor Warren is a right-wing Christian. Unquestionably, Pastor Warren is at ideological odds with many who support our new President. Yet, Warren and his countless followers are entitled to their voices and opinions because they are Americans too! This was the first figurative shot across our bow by our new leader. All Americans will be represented within the broad expanse of his decision making. That is how it should be. An invocation, a single prayer, is not necessarily the stuff of politics. However, inclusiveness and representation on behalf of all of our people is, and will remain a cornerstone of our new President’s legacy.
America has been awakened from the deep slumber of separatism. Her people are moving in mass into a new ideological millennium of oneness and inclusion. They have joined in an effort to recapture this nation’s wonderful birthright. I have taken time to fix my eyes on the world and to appreciate the many tremendous benefits of American citizenship. As proud as I am of the collective statement that the American people have made at this critical time in history, I am also heartened by the global impacts. America has long been the leader of the free world. The nation’s military and economic clout have largely influenced this world image. But now, at this challenging time, when this nation and the world face horrors, obstacles and challenges of wide ranging impact and proportion, America can right her ship while resuming her position of world leadership with unparalleled dignity and pride. In all the world, no advanced or industrialized nation has ever made such a bold and progressive socio-political statement comparable to that of our recent Presidential election.
Our new president will not work miracles, but he will not be required to. The miracle has already been realized through the soul and conscience of a nation that after many painful generations, has began to heal itself. America has finally become the mother of all men that she was intended to be. In the years to come, we will recover from the damage that the economic, social, and political tragedies that have gripped the nation. Although the road will be long, Americans may all take solace in the truth that we never collectively realized as citizens. We are now truly one nation under the leadership of a new-era President.
With American history as my reminder, I also needed to hear those words in Grant Park. Although those words were intended otherwise, they may be among the most important and memorable words Barack Obama has ever spoken. No matter whom you are, every American can and should, pause and remember them well… “I will be your President too.”
L. A. Walker, © Leon A. Walker