As popular as candidate Barack Obama was with Black America, I don’t think he could have ever fathomed just how much he would mean to the people. He is a role model, a hero, almost a deity to some of us. While most God-fearing Christians would never admit to worshipping a mortal man, their actions tell another story. They will fight almost to the death to protect him from critics. He represents so many things to us–for soldiers of the civil rights movement who fought merely for the right to vote, he is a symbol of victory; to younger people, he’s the personification of hope. So, yeah, it’s personal. The tears shed by Rev. Jesse Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Rep, John Lewis and others on Election Night 2008 were real. They stemmed from a combination of happiness, pride and even fear that an ugly side of our country wouldn’t allow this president to lead the nation.
I don’t know of any other Black American that has the love of black people that the president has, and that love also extends to his wife and children. That’s a lot for man–and a family–to deal with.
Even though Dr. King is hailed as a larger than life civil rights hero, it didn’t happen during his lifetime. Not so with the Big Chief. He and his family are watching as the whole thing unfolds. When people expect so much from you, it’s so easy to disappoint. And in spite of all that, they’re doing a great job.
Even though this wasn’t what he was elected to do, President Obama, his wife and his daughters have set a remarkable example for families. Their real-life experiences and struggles they’ve shared make them even more relatable to African-Americans. Both he and Michelle had humble beginnings, but worked hard to achieve success. They know exactly what the middle class and poor are going through. They’re able to speak first-hand about scrimping for gas money and filling out financial aid forms for college.
From movies to music videos to reality shows, the world often sees a version of Black America that makes us shake our heads. The First Family shows a different picture. And that’s good look for America.
My message to every registered voter is that loving the president isn’t enough. This race is going to be close, and he needs every vote. No one can afford to sit this one out. You may not see me in church on Sunday, but I do know that faith and action go hand-in-hand. If you want Barack Obama for four more years, you have to do what you need to do to make that happen. We have to use our emotions as fuel to get us motivated, but don’t sleep on the facts either. This country is making a turn for the better, and we want it to keep going in a direction that’s best for our future.
Now that we know what we can do collectively, it would be a crime not to vote in big numbers in every election, beginning with Nov. 6th.