VOTING FOR OBAMA
Donald V. Watkins
Editor and Publisher
© October 28, 2008
I voted for Barack Obama yesterday by absentee ballot. It was a surreal experience to finally cast my ballot for Obama for president.
I was a high school student in Montgomery, Alabama in the 1960s when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were enacted into law. As I filled out my ballot, I took a mental flight in history and reflected on my childhood experiences in Montgomery, with its segregated water fountains, restrooms, lunch counters, public schools, movie theatres, residential communities, and churches. It seemed unbelievable that 43 years after the Voting Rights Act, I was in the act of casting my ballot for Obama for president of the United States. I was taking an active role in a living miracle.
As I marked my ballot, I doubled checked it twice. I wanted to make no mistakes that would void my ballot--I vote in Florida and remember what happened to Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election. I needed my vote to count. After all, I was not casting a vote for a single-issue protest candidate. No, I was voting for the presidential candidate with an eight point lead in all of the national polls one week before Election Day. I was voting for the likely next president of the United States, and he is black.
Only in America could this real life story occur. The greatness of this country has always been embodied in its exercise of reasoned and mature political judgment. The better and more qualified candidate for president is likely to win, and he happens to be black. Obama’s victory will be attributed, in large part, to the millions of white voters who voted their economic interests over any latent fears of black people quietly peddled by Republicans operatives supporting John McCain. Even more impressive is the fact that Obama never renounced or belittle his racial heritage on the road to the White House.
Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, and other blacks who are apparently consumed with self-hatred should take notice of Obama’s refreshing example of comfortability with his blackness. The Clarence Thomases of America must now realize they no longer have to renounce their blackness to be fully accepted by white America. Hopefully, the successful Obama campaign has freed them from their self-imposed racial inferiority complex.
When I mailed my ballot, I realized I had witnessed two pivotal moments in American history. I saw the majority of white Americans embrace and support the changes inspired by the Civil Rights movement lead by Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 1960s. Today, I am witnessing white America embrace and support the first true era of trans-racial national politics. In each case, reasoned political judgment triumphed over fear and hated. The first historic event was led by a preacher-leader. The second one is led by a truly inspiring and compassionate political leader.
When the votes are counted on Election Night, I believe Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. Americans deserve his style and direction of leadership. He will not be the black president. He will be the global leader of the free world. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., Obama is the right man in the right place at the right time. He will restore America’s prestige among the community of nations. He will make all Americans of interracial goodwill very proud.
I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to see and participate in this pivotal moment in American history where the selection of its next presidential is based on the important issues of the day and each candidate’s position on these issues. Race has finally taken a back seat to reason and our national interests.