Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What Obama means

A lot:

I suppose I live a sheltered life, but for some reason it hadn't crossed my mind that many African-Americans would think not just that it was very hard for a black man to win the nomination, but that it was impossible. But once it did, I found it horrible and heartbreaking, all the more so because, on reflection, I thought it was a perfectly reasonable thing to think. (At least in its milder form -- 'he can't win' -- as opposed to the more ominous 'they won't let him win.')

I thought: it is awful that people should think that no one who looks like them could possibly be nominated by a major party; that any candidate who looks like them has to be "some kind of stunt"; that if they tell their children that maybe they'll grow up to be President some day, they believe, in their heart of hearts, that they are lying. That should never, ever be true. Not in our country.

When Barack Obama won Iowa, the ground beneath that fear began to crack. Now it has been blown apart, in the only way it could have been. And whatever any of us think about this race, or Senator Obama, that is cause for celebration; as is the fact that it turned out not to be true.

I add one thing to this: The president is the first political figure children tend to recognize, and that they do so at a pretty young age. I very much like the idea of Barack Obama being the first president that my daughter is really aware of.

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