When John McCain and Barack Obama step onto the stage in Oxford, Mississippi on Sept. 26, they’ll argue about taxes, about the Iraq War, about whose health care plan is better, and who has the “experience to lead.”
But I want to argue that this election is about more than that. It IS about “change,” as Obama’s been arguing since the beginning and McCain has argued since the RNC. But this election is just as much about image at home and around the world.
When Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech at the DNC and was greeted by two- or three-minute standing ovation, my eyes teared up. I looked at him and saw a black man – something I didn’t think I’d ever see in a presidential election. I saw a man who’s better than the athletes that are flashed on the TV screen as “role models.” He’s better than the millionaire rappers who roll in the Hummers and rims and loud thumps.
He’s a magna cum laude from Harvard University. He’s someone who gave up millions in order to work on the streets as a community organizer. He’s someone who came from a father-less home and, by his bootstraps, made himself one of the two finalists for the most important job in the world.
But more than that, Obama represents something for the rest of the world. He represents an America that can be better than it has ever been to its neighbors. It can be the first major Western country to elect a black president, or prime minister. People around the world will look at the United States and say, “Even a black man can become president in the United States. That is a wonderful place of opportunity.”
Yes, I agree with Obama’s tax policies, his environmental policies, and his energy policies, but underlying all that support is my belief that an Obama presidency can give Americans something that’s been missing since, well, Franklin Roosevelt – that the future might not be such an awful thing full of despair and failure. I believe an Obama presidency will truly give us hope.
He gives me hope for a better future for our country. He gives me hope that this country can change for the better and that our great sins of the past can be overcome. He gives me hope that racism can truly become a thing of the past. He gives me hope that minorities and the underprivaledged of all colors will truly shoot to be the best. An Obama presidency will make me truly proud to be an American.