The votes have been counted and Barack Hussein Obama is the 44th president of the United States. People came to vote, old young, black, white, brown, yellow, rich, poor and in the middle. We came, some blind, cripple, maybe even a little crazy, but no less determined. We have celebrated with confetti, good music, spirits, tears and a lot of thank you Lords. What's next for America, what's next for people of color world wide. Will the Obama brand be accepted: a black face sitting on the throne of U.S. power?
How do we insure that the election has more than just a historical and symbolic significance? What can humanity do to insure that we move beyond race and class politics toward a healing of America and the world that our children can safely inherit. The new era of Obama's leadership will call for a radical shift in paradigms, worldview and praxis. We will have to be both reflexive and forward thinking in order to enjoy even a modicum of success.
Where do we start the rebuilding process? Does it start with the economy, health care, foreign policy, especially as it relates to Afghanistan and Iraq. What does it mean to European Americans to have a man of mix race, African and Caucasian calling the shots? What will it mean to people of color to have a person who at least in hue looks more like them than any other president?
Throughout the presidential campaign the media suggested that America had suddenly become color blind. I have a funny feeling that now that Obama has been elected the lens of race with take center stage. What will happen now that the celebration is over and the real work begins. Will the still white male dominated Congress be able to get behind a black man; even a Harvard educated, mixed race, raised with mid-Western European values one ?
America is at the nadir of its existence on the world stage. How do we rise out of the ashes of eight years of GW? How do we begin to heal the scars and redirect our moral, social, and economic compass toward justice for all, rather than a few. What I know for sure is that now it is our time to raise the bar on ourselves and thus make our government including president elect Obama accountable. The fight will be long and hard, so much has been lost (i.e. our civil liberties, jobs, homes and our respect around the world). The brother has truly inherited a huge pot of dung. He will need all of the moral fiber, testicular fortitude and a continued belief in the audacity of hope he can muster.
As African Americans we must not get caught up in the caught up. We must not be naive enough to believe that one black man alone can change our destiny. We must seize the moment. Get involve in your local government, get knowledgeable about who your state's U.S. senators and representatives are. Become active in writing them to let them know the national public policy agenda you would like to see. It is the responsibility of every American citizen to frame the political debate. If the Obama administration is to represent a true participatory democracy, we must speak up and out on behalf of those who are voiceless or just plain unwilling. We must speak with one voice for radical k-12 education reform, jobs and living- wages for all who desire and are able to work . We must advocate for access to affordable quality health care for every child, woman and man. More importantly, we must demand that the young men and women in our arm forces are brought home safely and timely. No longer should we sacrifice our young in the name of oil under the guise of democracy.
We have made the ancestors proud with this historic moment. Now let's put our heads and hearts together and see what world we can make that is a worthy inheritance for our young and the beautiful ones not yet born. I challenge each of you as I challenge myself to make the historic election of Barack Hussein Obama more that just a symbol, but a true reflection of what can happen when humanity comes together with a common vision of hope and possibility. I commit to do and be more to insure that my grandsons, Jaden and Jeremiah inherit a future that insures them a quality education, affordable health care, a living wage and a planet that is sustainable, greener and healthier for all.
My prayers and meditations go out to the Obama family. The love that Barack and Michelle show for each other and their children speaks to the revolutionary power of love to uplift and to heal. I pray that God will keep them strong as a unit and that the Creator's circle of protection will guide them as they attempt to carryout the duties of the Commander and Chief. To paraphrase words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic speech, " Where Do We Go From Here", " the plant of freedom as grown another bud, but it still is not a flower." (16 August, 1967). There is much to do, let's get to work to insure that the bud of freedom, love and democracy is transformed into a beautiful flower of hope and prosperity for all humanity.
YES WE CAN, YES WE DID AND YES WE WILL!!!