Seeing the excitement and elation on the many faces of the Obama supporters on election night was a joy to behold. In the many presidential elections I have witnessed in the many years of my adulthood, there has never been a contest that so galvanized the citizenry as this one. I can’t recall any election that stirred the interest of so many divergent elements of our society as this one did. The most encouraging thing is that all those different groups that make up our melting pot society could come together in common cause and agree so wholeheartedly about a candidate.
Now having said that, I have a concern that because Barack Obama isn’t your typical old white guy we so commonly elect, he may be seen as more a savior than a President. And while I can appreciate the many African-American faces with tears of joy freely running down their cheeks, I am getting a bit annoyed that those African-Americans are claiming President-elect Obama as uniquely their own.
I, for one, never considered Senator Obama as a Black candidate. His racial background was noted in passing and then relegated to the deep back reaches of my consciousceness. I supported him because what he had to say about the issues before us resonated with me. I considered him the best man we could possibly elect to the demanding office of the Presidency. I like his intelligence and calm and reassuring demeanor and the studied way he approaches the problems we face. I like the fact that he is able to see the consequences of decisions made now on the future, always looking several steps ahead. I like his commanding presence. He seems presidential to me. He doesn’t seem African-American. He seems American. He is the President for us all, not just for, or especially for, only one segment of our society.
So please don’t apply an unnecessary label to him. He may be the first multi-racial man to be elected to the office, but he transcends any racial label that is attached to him. He is the President for us all.