The speech by Barack Obama was expected to be about race. It turned out to be much, much more than that, regardless of what you would learn from the evening news. Of course, we know that the evening news and the "pundits" that you will find there always go for the more sensational aspects of any story, looking only at the surface without any effort to look for deeper meanings. While they rail that Obama did not denounce his pastor or get up in the middle of the sermon and walk out the door at some of the pastor's "inflammatory" statements, a bit of thought will cause you to wonder if they are not asking a bit too much. Or perhaps that is the reason so many churches are empty on Sunday morning, leaving the preacher shouting at the empty rafters.
On the other hand, if you really listened to the words of the man, a different perspective would emerge. He spoke not only about being a black man running for the American presidency but about a black-and-white man attempting to reconcile both sides of his heritage and getting them to live together in peace, united by a common determination to establish the equality for which the Founding Fathers and many other generations of our ancestors willingly gave their lives. He spoke briefly of the conflicts with his own family, specifically stating that his white grandmother confessed to discomfort in the presence of black men and alluded to the fact that the black voters queried whether he was sufficiently black for their own comfort.
But, overall, it was not just a speech about race. It was a speech about HOPE! You remember what hope feels like, don't you? It was the feeling we had when Bill Clinton was elected to the presidency, and before we learned how easily he adapted to playing the game of politics, dealing away his promised advocacy for the working people in order to gain the cooperation of the proponents of the Contract With/On America. The promised welfare "reform" was passed but half-formed with the supportive measures lying on the cutting-room floor. We continued to hope while Mrs. Clinton labored in secret on the "universal health care plan" only to have it die a-borning without ever seeing the light of day. After that, it was merely business as usual while the Neo-Con cabal continued to nibble at our freedoms and our futures.
Hope arose again when it appeared that our next President would be Al Gore whom many of us thought should have been heading the ticket eight years before. But a little hocus-pocus in Florida and we found ourselves with another Bush in the White House and hope disappeared again in the fog of war as our youth trooped off to spend their lives fighting and dying in the desert sands.
Now we are sick and tired of war and we want to hope again. There is no hope in the prospect of a "hundred-year war." Senator John McCain promises us at least another lifetime of more of the same, never for our children or, possibly, their children to know the blessings of peace. I see no hope in the prospect of the plans of Senator Hillary Clinton with her proposal of mandatory health insurance, further taxing our poor pocketbooks for the enrichment of the greedy insurance companies. Her theory of leaving troops in Iraq indefinitely to "protect our embassy" is similarly distasteful. In light of the recent disappointment of a Clinton presidency, I see little hope in repeating it.
I have not been, and still am not, an advocate for the election of Barack Obama for all the reasons that others have expressed. I would prefer that he be more experienced but many before him have been inexperienced and I believe he will be a quick learner. I do not feel that he is the "cream of the crop" and the very best choice for the job. However, those whom I might have preferred have all been eliminated by the electoral system and the choices have dwindled.
And so I prefer to HOPE. Living in a state that has no primaries and only titular caucuses, I have had no chance to vote for the Democratic candidate. But I will HOPE that the media will not discourage Obama's supporters and he will be able to continue his winning path to the White House. And unless a "white knight" appears in a successful third party, I will be at the polls in November, casting my vote for a black white man or a white black man with HOPE to lead my beloved nation into the future.