Commas for Obama – “We Pause for Thought”

commaz.jpgI often surf the web when I have nothing better to do, and because the focus of my efforts for the Obama campaign has been on getting the word out to the black community, I often visit social networking sites for African Americans in search of opportunities to answer questions, debunk myths, and refute incorrect claims regarding the Senator and his campaign.

Today, I came across what could best be described as a sincere cry for help from a young man on one of the most popular social networking sites for blacks, and it got me to thinking – what better way to start a deeper dialog on THIS site, than to seek out these cries for help anywhere I can find them and answer them!

And so today, we introduce the first installment of “Commas for Obama: We Pause for Thought”, a segment that will appear as often as we can find a good question or mis-guided diatribe to which we feel compelled to respond. Thank you to my oldest friend in the world, Candice Biggins for the feature’s name, and please, come back often to see what we pause for thought about next!

The subject of today’s pause comes from BlackPlanet.com, and a 29-year-old male in Lawrenceville, GA who calls himself ONONYMOUS.

” (Paraphrasing for entertainment value) Somebody got-ta tell me why I should vote for Obama, and please not because he’s black!”

Ononymous

Male, 29, Lawrenceville, GA

Posted July 4, 2007

“I need a good reason to vote for Obama, and please not because he is black. Honestly right now I am thinking Rudy Guliani. I was born in New York and seen the changes he has done. If you havent seen what he has done watch the movie Fame sometime and see New York how it used to be. Im looking for what Obama is going to do for me financially. I dont care about things like universal health care, why should I? I worked my butt off to get where I am at, why should someone get the same benifts that I sacrificed for?? Iraq, Iran, the war on terror, whatever, tell me what he is going to do about the death of the middle class. Yes i am going to say I am middle class, I can afford to eat, pay my bills and have a good job, but with the way thing are going will I in the future? Whats his platform?? This election is serious, we are living in a dictatorship right now. The power that the Bush government has is disgusting. He has gotten away with crimes that are unconstituional. Give me a reson to look at Obama. I need to know that he will allow me to raise my future kids safely in this crazy world that we now live in. He is a good man, but that doesnt help my future. “

Dear ONONYMOUS: 

The very reason why we should ALL take a look at Barack Obama is that we DON’T just have to vote for him because he’s black!

First, just let me say that if you’ve narrowed your choices down to Barack Obama or Rudy Guiliani, and you need the TV show “Fame” to make your point, there’s a deeper, fundamental struggle going on within you that needs to be dealt with. But not here.

Rudy Guiliani may be tough on crime, able to clean up a city, etc., but he does not in anyway have the background or moral compass necessary to lead this or any other country. When it comes to morals, I wouldn’t trust him to lead a deserted island, let alone the most powerful nation in the world. Besides, we’ve had 8 years of someone too willing to pull the trigger before he aims. We dont need another 8 years.

As for Senator Obama, I think we as black people may all be a little taken aback because we’re so used to black candidates getting in the race for President who we know have absolutely no chance of winning. For a long time, I often wondered to myself WHY a Jesse Jackson or an Al Sharpton would even bother with the hassle of throwing their hats in the ring, when they knew a snowball had a better chance in hell. I soon realized the truth – that they were sacrificing themselves in order to get the issues important to black people on the national stage. This is admirable, but ironically, this is not what the Obama campaign is about.

I became an Obama supporter after I realized that he had spent much of his time in the inner cities of Chicago, working with ministers and locals trying to rebuild neighborhoods, when he could have been off working some lucrative job somewhere. And when I realized that he had a solid reputation for reaching across the isle to build concensus and get things done in the Senate I was sold. 

Senator Obama lays out a new way of governing that is inclusive, and that seeks to bridge the gap that this nation’s politicians have created over the last several years. Our government is practically immobilized; partisan bickering, scandalizing, and cow-towing to special interests have made it almost impossible for us to solve any of our country’s problems, and that has to stop. The fact that this man, black, blue, or magenta could actually affect change at all should not cause us to question his “blackness”, but to celebrate his viability.

I am by most measures a successful black woman, and yet I understand that I am in some ways very in the minority. Years of empty promises from manipulative politicians have done nothing to keep the spread of aids from ravaging the black females in our communities, and has done nothing to provide the opportunities that our black men so desperately need to keep our families together – that includes the Clinton years.

What Senator Obama offers, if you REALLY read everything you can about him, is a different kind of government, one in which our nation’s problems are attacked head on and in a way that ensures that everyone is part of the process. He is not just waging a campaign, he’s creating a movement; I have NEVER been involved in politics in any way, and getting involved with his campaign taught me what a serious mistake that was on my part. Unfortunately, it’s human nature at times to have a very “American Idol” way of dealing with political issues – we don’t get engaged until it’s down to the last two. Well that won’t work anymore – nothing about the way this country has been run over the last twenty years has done anything to make our schools safer, our elderly more cared for, or our communities more prosperous.

If you need a reason to vote for Senator Obama, and you really want to get to know how deeply philosophical his approach to changing this government is, pick up “The Audacity of Hope” and read it from cover to cover. Reading that book opened my eyes to some major political realities, including and especially as they relate to the war in Iraq, and what the United States has tried to do in in the Middle East in general. I’m almost willing to guarantee that if you read that book, and THEN read some of his speeches, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the candidate, and feel better informed to make your decision come Primary Election Day.

Pat

About Patricia Wilson-Smith

Patricia Wilson-Smith is a freelance writer and author of the romantic comedy "Duped By Love". She is a regular contributor to She Unlimited Magazine, and covers special events as a special on-air correspondent.
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