?…And the home of the brave?

Published 1:34 pm Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I&squo;ve never been so proud to be an American. While we&squo;re a little behind other countries in the female leader department (Thatcher, Ghandi, Bhutto, Sirleaf, Brundtland~ yes, I hadn&squo;t heard of her, either. Three times Prime Minister of Norway!), to be alive and watch the fruition of what this country was always supposed to be, with not only Hillary, but a man of color, Barack Obama, is heady stuff. And before you dismiss Republicans as &dquo;the middle-aged white man&squo;s club,&dquo; then you forget the pressure that was also put upon Condoleezza Rice to run.

These are exciting times!

I believe it will, frankly, be disconcerting for many Caucasians should an African-American hold the most important office in this country as well as the world. Whites will have the opportunity, and I do mean opportunity, to know, for the very first time, what it feels like to have the country led by a person whose color is different from their own. What minorities in this country have always felt, they shall feel. I relish to feel that difference. Prior to moving to Los Angeles in 1985, it had been a very &dquo;safe&dquo; life for me, being the majority in a north Georgia neighborhood. From my childhood in the 1960s, I only saw happy, middle-class families that looked like mine on television. I never wondered what it must have felt like for a black child viewing the same sitcoms. Or movies. Or magazine advertisements. Or country club cocktail parties. Or executive board rooms.

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This column is not an endorsement of Barack Obama; I want to make that clear. This column is an endorsement of the sea of faces of all colors that have poured out to cheer this candidate in bitter wind, driving rain, and blowing snow. This is an endorsement of what some may see as &squo;Pollyanna&squo; when one declares, &dquo;I don&squo;t see color!&dquo;

People across this country, as I write, are in love with the notion of hope. If anyone deserved to feel stiffly jaded and wary after Clinton&squo;s impeachment, our current admini-stration&squo;s mismanagement of the Iraq War, Iran-Contra, Watergate, not to mention countless scandals on both sides of Congress, it is we. Like the heartbroken victim of a cheating spouse, we wonder if we can dare to trust again. If we do, we&squo;re in fine company: the first generation, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, were tremendous idealists.

I am absolutely sure that John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are utterly competent and would make strong leaders. McCain and Clinton have more experience. One is an undisputed war hero. However, one has managed to rise above the rest with a tidal wave of momentum that no one can deny.

If Barack Obama claims the White House, I will feel such pride in &dquo;We the People&dquo;: that our country, even while smackings of racial events continue to occur, can ignore color and embrace idealism. It is wonderous to truly realize what was written 230 years ago in our lifetime:

&dquo;We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights…&dquo;

Even Ms. Brundtland will be impressed!