As US President Barack Obama prepares to face everything that comes with a second term in the White House, and even as the “Why Obama Won” and “Why Romney Lost” analyses are in high gear, I think I’ll just pause and savour my own take-away from all this.
I have a memory years ago of Jesse Jackson saying that the day a black man became President of the United States there would be no more impossible dreams.
The political career of Barack Hussein Obama is the embodiment of the impossible dream. Ten years ago, no one had heard of Barack Obama. His 2004 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention marked him as one to watch, but even then, he was only a state senator and a candidate for the US Senate.
He became one of only a handful of black people ever elected to the US Senate in 2004, and went from a barely noticed entrant
into the 2008 Presidential race to being sworn in as the first black president of the United States, in a ceremony that we all watched, in awe, around the world.
And he has survived! Survived rank racism, the forces of the conservative and extreme right, withstood the millions of dollars mustered to defeat him, a terrible economy which he and his administration have struggled to mend, and endured vicious attacks on the health care reform that will forever bear his name. He fought back after a disastrous first debate which I wrote about here, which had supporters and donors worried. And after all that, he has come out on top. Again!
At this moment I am not debating his policies, successes and failures, political strategies, or the uphill task that faces all second term Presidents ready to think about their legacies.
I’m just taking a minute to look at him and say “Wow! Really?” Maybe what we’re all trying to accomplish on much smaller stages can be done as well. It’s certainly worth a try. After all, it’s not like we’re trying to do anything hard like, you know, become elected or re-elected as the first black US President!