One Year Later: A Return to Normalcy


The election of Barack Obama on November 4th, 2008 was unlike any election day in recent memory. It was not only a day that changed America -- all presidential elections do that -- but it was a day laden with symbolic, and real, meaning. The image of Barack Obama and his family walking onto the stage in Grant Park in Chicago after Obama had been declared the winner of the election will be remembered for years. For many Americans, the day Obama was elected was a day of excitement and hope which had been all but forgotten in our political life.

Yes We Did!

The Obama family captures what is best about America and the American dream. Both Barack and Michelle Obama show us, and the world, that in the US if you work very hard and get a few breaks you can make it-regardless of who you are or who your parents are. 

Obama's victory, however, does not just belong to him. It also belongs to many Americans who are no longer with us-not only the Martin Luther Kings, Thurgood Marshalls, Paul Robesons, Rosa Parks and other civil rights leaders, but also for anybody who ever marched for the right to vote, got arrested for fighting for equality, or believed enough in the ideals of the United States to fight and sacrifice for them. Obama's victory is a victory for all Americans who have ever worked hard to get into a good school, get a good job or get ahead, worked to raise their kids with a belief in hard work and the value of education, were naïve or innocent enough to believe in the American dream or that in Obama's famous words "in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."


Is America Ready for Another White Male President

During the Democratic Primaries, when discussing the chances of Obama and Clinton, with some frequency, the person with whom I was talking would lean in towards me and say "Do you really think America is ready for a black/woman president?" Like many people, I found the former question racist and the latter one sexist. As a white man, I also resented the implication that I somehow understood that America wasn't ready, whatever that meant.