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A Brighter Day is Coming, the 2008 Presidential Election

Race matters in this Presidential election, but not necessarily for the reasons that you think.

I am Black, female, and a Democrat. However this presidential race did not start out being about race for me. Indeed, I considered supporting Hillary Clinton. For years she appeared to be on the right side of civil rights. And, as a senator she has earned respect from the other members of Congress. Still, I decided to support Barack Obama, not because he is Black, but because I believe that he is right for this country.

Since he launched onto the national stage at the Democratic Convention in 2004, Obama has captivated this nation with his class, eloquence and star power—even if most of us were confused about whether his name was Barack Obama or Obama Barack for quite some time.

In that speech he acknowledged that his presence was the manifestation of the hopes and dreams of his family. He also realized that his presence represented the hopes and the promise of a generous and tolerant America. He admitted that America was not where it could be, but he believed that it had the infinite potential to do better. At that convention, Obama spoke and we believed. We believed in hope. We believed in America. And we began to believe in him.

And because of his eloquence, his presence, and his skill, we listened. And not to diminish his intelligence and political acumen, he has that rock star thing going. He had that je ne sais quoi that commanded our attention. In a word, he was special, and at the end of that speech everybody knew it.

Obama’s star power attracted our attention initially, but his substance is why he is now a viable candidate for President. His ability to understand the needs of American families, coupled with his intellect and understanding of policies makes you believe in him. But more importantly, he makes you believe in yourself. If you listen to him, you can easily conclude like Ted and Caroline Kennedy have—-Obama is simply the best.

Despite being the best, Obama’s race is at center stage. Ironically, the Clinton campaign escalated the issue of race in a way that Obama’s Black face never did. (Who would have thunk it?!) The Clinton campaign’s comments that Obama’s eloquence was mere “rhetoric”, his campaign was a “fairy tail”, and his victory in South Carolina was somehow a “Black victory” made us all take notice.

Those comments struck a chord with many Americans, and not just the Black ones. I believe that those comments struck a chord with everyone who has ever been left out. They struck a chord with everyone who has ever been misunderstood. And they struck a chord with everyone who has ever faced a bully. The unfairness was obvious to even Pat Buchanan, possibly the most conservative man in the free world.

The strategy adopted by the Clinton campaign seems to want to divide this country along racial lines. Hopefully, we won’t stand for it.

I don’t know what the results of Super Tuesday will be, but I remain hopeful that out of this political darkness a brighter day will come, and that Obama will come out on top. As the Giants have shown us, this is the year of the underdog.

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