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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Our President

On President Barack Obama - Four months after Election Day
Lois Tietzel

Hope 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 their lifetime.

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 and out.

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 feel.

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 forward.
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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