International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Our President
President Barack Obama - Four months after Election Day
is still there. Are we going to let our fire get put out by this
Recession, Depression or whatever Financial Crisis? I say, hell
no. It seemed like the Global Financial Crisis was timed perfectly
to take the wind out of Obama's sails. Not that his ship is stalled
in flat water, not at all. But the momentousness of this election
how the campaign was run, the truly grass-roots movement,
the kindling of that flame that America calls hope and the rest
of the world calls leadership, the fact that a person committed
to the community and every person in it made it to the highest political
office in the U.S.A. seemed to be run over by the WWFC-Express (World
Wide Financial Crisis).
I don't want this
moment to become road kill, like it already has for many.
I want to savor the moment, want to bask in the warmth of feeling good
about my country, at least for those who support Obama (sorry, other
folks) and feel like there is hope in the world for my daughter.
Yes, we are all worried about our bank accounts, our taxes, our jobs,
the well-being of our families, but, at the same time, we can't forget
the meaning this election has had and will have in history. I would
like to think, Obama won't only be remembered as the first black President.
I pray that he will be remembered as the first President in a long LINE
of idiots (Clinton excused) to be more committed to the well-being of
ALL Americans and not the well-being of his own circle of buddies.
So, in retrospect and in honor of the almost two month anniversary of
the innauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama, let me "re-tell"
my reaction to the Obama-Rama.
It actually happened! Barack Obama is President Elect of the United
States of America.
It's about time we had a man like this come along again.
The fact that a Black American has finally gotten to the highest office
in the country is a HUGE step in the right direction.
But it's not just about the color of his skin and the type of hair he
has. He is an amazingly passionate civil servant, a brilliant mind,
a humble person, a sweet Daddy, a good role model, but also a person
who has not only come to understand and accept his "different"
background and the challenges and opportunities it brings with it. Not
only has he come to understand himself and his ability, his talent,
his potential, but he has the will, the inspiration and the patience
to bring his passion for others onto a stage that will make it possible
to accomplish some of those goals he has long worked for, and those
goals which many many many Black, White, Brown and whoever Americans
have long awaited.
This is really an historic election.
It's for all of those Freedom Riders, those Lunch Room Protesters, those
bitten by police dogs, spit on, beaten and kicked Protesters during
the Civil Rights Movements who refused to yield in the face of hateful
opposition. Those individuals are now grandparents, maybe even great
grandparents. And I am SO happy that they are able to witness this in
I hope that there is an acceptance, a realization that takes place in
the minds and hearts of many many White Americans who may still harbor
prejudice against African-Americans (or minorities of any ethnicity).
Don't let this election go unnoticed after 4 or 6 months. Don't let
people forget what an impact it can and should have. Don't let yourself
grow complacent. Remind yourself and others that this is America's chance
to really GROW - to become EQUAL in the real sense of the word.
Don't buy into what the right-wingnuts will probably spew: that Barack
only won because he's Black, because he has some sort of pop-star status.
He certainly didn't win just because he's Black. He won because he is
INSPIRING and truly wants to help his fellow man, improve the US inside
This election is not just historical because of Barack's skin color.
It's historic, too, that the voter turn out was more than it has been
in almost a century, that people of all ethnicities, backgrounds and
walks came together to support a candidate who spoke about what keeps
them up at night and what would make their lives better.
I am really excited about this happening - I only wish I could physically
be in the States to see the excitement and reaction of others.
So, those of you who ARE there - get out - talk about it with others.
TThis is the time to openly speak up about the hidden racism in our
society, the pain and the disgraceful acts of our history. Yes, we have
had the Civil Rights movement, but now it is finally been put into action.
Look at a person of different skin color than you in a different way
- get to know them be bold not bashful or worried about coming
across as racist by speaking about skin color or about the importance
of this election.
Take this historic event to the next level.
P.S. About the whole racism/black/white thing:
I think that many of us, esp. conservative thinkers are a little wary
about the meaning of this election of the "First Black President".
It seems many think that it is racist to see color in the first place.
Color-blind is the catch phrase here. I used to think that, too.
The problem though, is that ignoring color is ignoring reality: the
reality is racism, subliminal racism.
Everyone has it. It is integrated into our society. But the first step
is to accept this and to say: yes, I see my Black neighbor differently
than I do my White neighbor. Then you must ask yourself: WHY?
When you dig deep then you will probably find the answer simply to be:
Fear of Strangers. Then you ask: How much stranger are they? When you
then list all the "differences" they actually become similarities
and you realize they are the same as you: the exact same. Maybe better.
I know that most Black people are better people than I am: I don't have
to deal with ugly painful racism and cowardly sick hidden racism day
in and day out. That takes a lot of courage.
The ultimate realization comes when you truly put yourself in the shoes
of the other: how would you feel e.g. in the middle of some African
city as the ONLY white person around? Now imagine you are going for
a simple job interview: why are you nervous? And when you shop? Do you
feel like people are looking at you? Think of how it would make you
We white people should be absolutely ASHAMED for what Black people have
had to endure in this country: as slaves, as the children and grand
children of slaves, as segregated Americans who were allowed to die
for their country, but not vote for its representation, who endured
terrible terrible humiliations and still walked with their heads held
high because they knew they didn't deserve it. For those who didn't
survive the hate. And for those who still suffer.
As White Americans we carry the guilt for these sins. Black Americans
can't change their history, nor can White Americans. And we whites should
finally take responsibility for the crimes of our ancestors.
I have learned that from the Germans (who constantly and stoically bear
the burden of Hitler). By taking responsibility, we can accept and move
Blacks have so earned this victory - I am endlessly happy for them and
for this amazing event.
And to top it all off, Barack Obama is simply an amazing, exciting individual
who will make one of the best Presidents of the US ever!
He could be bigger than Kennedy. Pray that he lives llonger than his
90+year old grandma.
(I am not trying to sound condescending or in any way, hyper-sensitive
or hyper-ethnicity-sensitive or whatever.
While writing my college thesis "Ebonics: A Socio-Cultural Approach",
I learned a whole new angle to race and Black and White relations in
America, based on language. It is fascinating - my paper could have
been 1000 pages long.
Once you realize what the keys are to understanding the problem, you
can also see where the solutions are. And that is thrilling!)
Just gettin the word out.
Keep it up, Barack!
© Lois Tietzel March 2009
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