With Obama, it’s not about race

There has been a lot of talk about Barak Obama as the first black president of the U.S.A. I’m glad that I voted for a candidate who has acknowledged African-American heritage, but my vote for Senator Obama was not about his racial heritage. It was simply that he had the right ideas and presented them powerfully.

I can understand the joy of many of my fellow citizens who are happy that the president-elect of the United States—soon to hold the most powerful political position in our world—is an individual who has African as well as European parents, “who looks like them.” But that’s not the point!

Folks, we have to talk. Senator Obama discussed our current problems with us from a problem-solving perspective, not a racial perspective. The problems the US must address (economic, poverty, peace, equity, environmental) are not racial. These problems may correlate, unfortunately, with ethnicity, but they are problems for all of us. We all contribute to the US economy. We are not only the laborers and the executives, the bosses and peons, the people whose shirts have white or blue collars, the slaves and the masters. We are us…in this together.

A man I know said (paraphrasing),

I voted for McCain, but I hope that Obama is the best president the US has ever had, because we need a president who can get us out of this mess.

Mr. Obama expressed the ideas that attracted voters, and I think the ideas he presented are as good as any I’ve heard since I started considering these topics. (John Kennedy’s campaign was my awakening, though my all-time-favorite candidate—until now—was Robert Kennedy, because, I think, he got the big picture, as Mr. Obama gets it.) It’s time to get past Mr. Obama’s ethnic background—he’s referred to himself as “a mutt”—and get about forward-looking, non-partisan, and honest discussions about how to get our country out of this ditch and helping our neighbors and friends (both those who live within a few hundred meters of us and those with whom we share international borders and relationships) to do the same.

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