Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My vote for Barack Obama

By Venise Berry


I plan to caucus for Barack Obama on January 3rd in Iowa and I look forward to voting for Barack Obama in the November 2008 presidential election not because he is a black man, but because he is a good man – a good person. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve complained about politicians and how they don’t seem to give a damn about the people they are elected to serve. Now, when I have the opportunity to fight for a change - I’m going to fight!

I even called the Obama campaign headquarters to request that one of their huge OBAMA HOPE signs be placed in my backyard to enjoy access to a major street and lots of traffic. I never imagined how beautiful that sign would be when the eastern sun hits it just right each morning. I’m thrilled to let everyone know that for the first time, in a long time, I have hope that my daughter might enjoy a more positive future on this earth.

For those who want to say that Barack Obama doesn’t have enough experience:
I feel it is actually a good thing that he has not been in politics long enough to be jaded by the power of this warped system. He represents a true change not only for Americans but for the entire world. Many nations see America as a bully on the playground forcing others to do it our way or else. Yes, we need to be strong, however, we also need to be fair because every great civilization in history that did not evolve eventually came tumbling down.

For those who ask is Barack Obama black enough?
That is a ridiculous question because all African Americans are mixed with a little bit of something. And paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his 1963 speech: “…it is not the color of a person’s skin, but the content of their character that matters”. If you define blackness based on what a person does for black culture and community Barack Obama is definitely black. The fact that he married a strong black woman is enough for me to respect him as a strong black man. The fact that he has worked as a community organizer for Chicago’s South Side and as a civil rights activist gives him significant credibility in my opinion. The fact that his father comes from Africa, the land of our ancestors, is also proof for me the he has a viable connection to the race.

Recently, when speaking at the University of Iowa, the esteemed Cornel West discussed the difference between a calling and a career using Barack Obama’s life. He identified Obama’s calling as politics with a purpose and praised the Illinois Senator’s decision made to serve people and communities rather than Wallstreet and capitalist materialism. West went on to explain (a crucial response to Biden’s stereotypical compliment) that the correct description of Obama is actually eloquent not articulate. Articulation, according to West, involves the perpetuation of stereotypical white acceptance while eloquence is the deliverance of a substantive message through the bearing of one’s soul.

I love the fact that Barack Obama is not afraid to discuss his belief in God and admit that his faith plays an important role in his life. On a stage in Greenville, South Carolina he said: “God is with us and he wants us to do the right thing.” With God on his side Obama’s primary goal to break down barriers so that all people can work together will be undoubtedly achieved.

I am so glad to see Oprah Winfrey step out of her comfortable box when it comes to African Americans. During her appearance on Good Morning America she was obviously excited about hitting the campaign trail for the Illinois Senator. She said her vote for Barack Obama was a vote for Barack Obama not a vote against Hillary Clinton (this is an important distinction and one could replace Hillary Clinton with John Edwards or Bill Richardson). How sad and hypocritical it is that people are now suggesting that Oprah’s public support of Obama is somehow racist? When Donald Trump endorsed Hillary Clinton nobody called him a racist.

I knew it was coming, but I hated to see it anyway. Because he’s black, Obama was questioned about his support of affirmative action on ABC’s, This Week. I have to point out how interesting it is that I have heard nobody ask Hillary Clinton about affirmative action, even though white women have benefited more from affirmative action than any minority or other group.

I appreciate that Obama is supporting our troops now that they are stuck in this disaster that is the Iraq War, yet we should not forget that Senator Barack Obama was one of the few Washington politicians who stood up and voted against this devastating war when it was first proposed.

And what is the deal with Andrew Young clowning at Newsmakers live? His ridicule of Obama’s age doesn’t hold up when according to several news reports, Barack Obama is 46 years old, the same age as Clinton when he was first elected in 1992 and older than 43 year old John F. Kennedy when he gave his inaugural address. Plus, Young’s jokes about Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and black women were insulting. Comparing Bill Clinton’s cheating lifestyle with Barack Obama’s solid family lifestyle is simply not funny.

Finally, in his inspiring book, The Audacity of Hope (p. 8), Barack Obama explains that his focus is not a focus on race, gender, sexual orientation, victimhood or any other limiting notion. His focus is on being a true American. He writes: “…at the core of the American experience are a set of ideas that continue to stir our collective conscience; a common set of values that binds us together despite our differences; a running thread of hope that makes our improbable experiment in democracy work. These values and ideas find expression not just in the marble slabs of monuments or in the recitation of history books. They remain alive in the hearts and minds of most Americans and can inspire us to pride, duty and sacrifice.”

I’m inspired by the powerful vision of this humble person who wants to make life better for us all and, if you keep an open mind, you too might see that Barack Obama offers a source of inspiration and hope for a brighter tomorrow, and join me as I support his candidacy for President of the United States of America.