Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 10/13/2008 [Archive]

Why Obama

Why Obama

By Martha Randolph Carr

There are a lot of well-educated, white middle class people who are asking at cocktail parties and in office cubicles if the white guy next to them is going to vote for Obama in the coming weeks. The media has broached the subject in terms of the national polls wondering if some of the percentage points in Obama's favor are from people too afraid to even anonymously say they won't vote for someone based on color. The media doesn't know, they're only speculating, but that's one of their favorite pastimes.

This is a question that comes up a lot these days but only in small little groups where no one will be called out for wondering what is really a very good question. What are the implications of finally allowing someone to hold the highest office whose people have been suppressed for centuries?

Or, put another way, has the bill come due with some interest? The answer is yes but it is becoming something we can all celebrate. Obama has given us the opportunity to let out a collectively long-held breath of anticipation. We are being offered the chance as Americans to come together at the same table and fulfill the promise of our roots.

'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, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.' That is the opening to our declaration, which says that we are a free, creative, bold nation at our base. The promise wrapped up inside and until this moment in time, never fully delivered, is that we are capable of collaborating with everyone, not just the few.

We are a nation that is not forged by a shared ethnic background to hold us together but by a shared ideal that benefits those who arrived over two hundred years ago and those who found this haven only yesterday.

And since the beginning, once in a generation a rare politician has come along who is forged by those ideals and then by the dire circumstances around him. A failing economy, a war that isn't going well, rumblings of unrest based on color or religion.

Those news items could also be applied to the era of Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As candidates, both men were also questioned repeatedly about whether or not they had enough experience to handle the problems that would face a new president.

Lincoln had failed numerous times in business and in politics and Roosevelt was in fragile health and thought of as a dilettante in some circles.

But there is a quality that all great leaders share, which ushers in lasting changes of the kind that benefit everyone and Obama has that quality. It's the ability to be compassionate and pragmatic at the same moment. Or put in layman terms, the ability to know at all times that it is better to do the right thing than to have to be right. It means putting aside ego and allowing others to have their say and then looking for ways to collaborate rather than punish.

Those who have worked with Obama in the past when he was a college law professor in Chicago have said that the man had the ability to listen to those around him, grasp all sides of the situation and come up with creative and unforeseen solutions that were inclusive to all concerned. That is the definition of collaboration and is why we can all vote for Obama and rest assured he will work to better all of our lives.

Obama understands that everyone will be watching him as the 44th President of the United States to see if he is the elected leader of all Americans. We will be looking to see if he can bring us all together as one nation and forever answer the promise that was given to us back in the beginning.

Every child in America will then understand on a much deeper level that in this country all things are possible and every dream can be forged into a life of our own making that can also serve others as well.

This is also why all of the naysayers who are watching our economy falter and are predicting the end of the dream are so far off the mark. We have only just begun to realize our potential and a better day is just upon us.

Martha Randolph Carr's latest book, A Place to Call Home, a memoir about the reemergence of U.S. orphanages is available wherever books are sold. If you'd like Martha to come and speak to your group visit: www.newvoicespeakers.com. Martha's Big Adventure coming soon to World Talk Radio and Voice America. Email Martha at: Martha@caglecartoons.com or visit www.martharandolphcarr.com.

© 2008 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Sales@cagle.com.

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