Friday, January 9, 2009

Why Obama is Special

Dear Lovers of Humanity and Optimistic Ideologists,

We need to identify why it is so special that Obama is president. We keep saying it very ambiguously without articulating why this moment in our North American history is quite so important.

Historically persons originating from Africa weren't even considered human. They were considered savages. They were considered to be irrational beings, incapable of logical thought or even learning. And based on these presumptions, members of their culture and communities were enslaved, abused, and stripped of their human dignity. This is the history of their community, culture, and of their people. Well, it is one part of the history; it is the very very cruel part.

Some people still are sick enough to believe things like this today, sadly. And some people are even sicker in that they think that these ideas of hate and discrimination are "rational" enough to bring into the world through articulation, discussion, or debate. How logical is it that we find ourselves in a place debating the composition of humanity? How rational is it that we would use these sordid fruits of our debate to find reason debase and abuse members of our human species?

While I know that some pundits are interested in splitting hairs, breaking down Obama's origins into percentages and postulating how those origins have affected his life experience, the truth remains that every day he dons the shirt of his cultural experience, and a part of his experience is the history or histories to which he is tied.

We cannot ignore the truth of a significant part of Obama's collective cultural history. While he may not be living out that history at present, the river of that experience, of that oppression, flows through his body today. So for a person to rise from that part of their history, where they didn't even belong in the realm of rational autonomous beings, to come to a position of preeminence - the *leader* of the free world, by the way - is a little more than a special thing.

Not only has Obama risen from a history that threatened the lives of so many, he rose from a history that creeps into our present, poisoning every prospect and opportunity for not only this one man, but for every man, woman, and child who shares a part of him.

And so we need to consider the true significance of this event. Obama shares a history with a group of people who at one time weren't even considered human. And today, we have come to recognize him, respect him, and trust him to lead us into the most confusing times our nations have experienced.

America: place where dreams come true. America: where everyone is welcome. America: land of change, indeed. America: home of the free.

Barak Obama as president of the United States of America is much, much more than a "significant thing."

Hoping the promise of hope is real and keeping my damn fingers crossed,

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