It took me a few days to gather myself to write this. I usually write about negative issues in the world, but nothing but honor here. When I saw that Senator Obama finally clinched the Democratic nomination, I literally felt invulnerable for about 24 hours. I walked with my head a bit higher. I smiled much more throughout the day. I couldn’t even listen to any rap music that had the word “nigga” in it (so of course, I played my own)! I wouldn’t let anything break my stride. I haven’t felt this proud to be alive probably since my niece was born.
Some may not see this as a big deal but for me, it meant the world. I can remember as far back as high school when I would mentor younger students. I remember several of the Black students I worked with saying that they wanted to be the first Black President. I told them often to not talk about being the first Black President, but rather the next one. Though the election has not been clinched (though it will be), I do believe that the glass ceiling has indeed been shattered. The only thing that is more impressive than the actual win is the way in which he accomplished it.
Senator Obama embodies the notion that one can be cool and be smart. He showed that nice guys can finish first and that you can be successful while being positive. Senator Obama often took the time to praise his rivals, both democrat and republican, even as they trashed him. Senator Obama personifies all that I often tell young people they can be. I have found myself wondering if so many of our rappers, actors, and other artists (of all races and genders) would have tried to attract such negative attention to make their careers from sex tapes to incarceration if they believed that one day they could lead this nation. Senator Obama can juxtapose his upbringing next to most of these artists and probably struggled more than many of them but he chose to say positive and because of that, there are literally thousands of young people who now believe they can just as easily prepare for a career in politics as they would to be in the NBA. This is a good day for America.
So I have to give praise where praise is due. I could write an entire different article about what Obama has done for our elders who fought for equality, but this is about the youth. We need to inspire our youth to reach their fullest potential. We need to show youth of all backgrounds that this country belongs to them as well and Senator Obama has accomplished this with his unprecedented run. Reverend Jesse Jackson said that Obama told him that he attended one of Jackson’s presidential debates back in the 80s. He told Jackson that the experience made him see the possibilities. I can’t wait until 20 years from now when we see what watching Obama accomplish will lead our youth to do. Thank you Senator Obama. Thank you.