What is so inspiringly great about this Obama victory are the obstacles—in both the primary and the general election—that he has had to overcome. The barriers faced by this black (or mixed-race) man named Barack Hussein Obama, however superficial and irrelevant, have been real and inseparable from him. Whether it is the sort of mind-numbing name-based stupidity of this woman, or simply the fact that more than 20% of our population still call him “Muslim” (to mask their own racial prejudice)—he did it. And we will all be better off for his struggle.
First, we will be better because he is better. His willingness to use techniques other than force and fear to convey his message — his eloquence, his learning, his clear ability to inspire confidence regardless of apparent obstacles…
But more importantly we will be better because Obama represents a crack in the damn of prejudice, that real and concrete barrier that has held back the flow of cooperation in our society. I believe that his ability and the example of his character will create in the minds of millions of American a new way of thinking about their fellows. His win represents the defeat of a certain mindlessness that has unnecessarily burdened our ability to cooperate in this country, and truly it is only together we can overcome.
As a child of the 80s, I recall watching Reagan’s speeches and feeling a certain pride in my country that I had never felt before. At that time I was less than informed from a policy perspective, but I understood the positive effects of strong and confident leadership — I felt it for the first time then — and I feel it again now.