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Barack Obama may be the junior senator from Illinois, but in thepresidential campaign polls, his progressive position on relevantissues seems to be resonating with the voters across the country.
Senator Barack Obama is often described as the junior senator from Illinois, but that may be what he needs to sustain his power base, build momentum and capture the nomination because he apparently has not been tainted by the “Washington” experience. He has produced new and freshly-minted ideas beyond the scope of the often-heard common rhetoric that pollutes experienced politicians. (Look at what experienced politicians have done in Iraq). With the current situation in a state of polarization, fresh progressive ideas are not only needed but they are necessary for the country’s revival and survival after seven years of compassionate conservatism, no-child-left-behind, shock-and-awe in Iraq, and “mission accomplished.” Obama comes when the country is in dire need of a renaissance.
But what makes him the right man for the job; who is attracted to his message; where did he come from; and who are his core supporters?
His wife, Michelle Obama, is his biggest booster and from whom he gets his drive and his internal fortitude; he is a family man.
The son of an African and an American, Obama comes with the right stuff to deal with the race issue, the poverty issue, the war issue, the social and economic issues, the immigration issue, health care and homelessness, and the ability, because of his heritage, upbringing and experience, to marshal the forces and the resources necessary for the country to live up to its creed and to cash the “NSF” check that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about. His candidacy is historic because of who he is, where he came from, and where he can lead the country. As an American born in Hawaii, who spent his formative years in Indonesia and finished his education in the United States, he is uniquely qualified to take on the local, national and international issues and problems that the country now faces.
According to the consensus, the most pressing problem facing the country at present is the conflict in Iraq. Obama’s vision and the quality of his leadership can be glimpsed from his position on the so-called Iraq War (more properly described as the invasion of Iraq). From its inception, he was not convinced that there was no imminent threat emanating from Iraq and the administration’s rationales for war were flimsy and ideologically driven. And though he was not in the U.S. Senate when the invasion started, he spoke out vociferously against it. In his book, the Audacity of Hope,” Obama stated, “What I could not support was a dumb war, a rash war, a war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.”
The wisdom of his words has materialized into reality, and the consequences that have resulted in the massive loss of lives, military and civilian, American and Iraqi, only reinforce the need for Obama at the helm of the American ship of state—the presidency.
Obama arrived on the national scene when he delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. He was then serving as a state senator in Illinois and stirred the nation’s imagination when he said, “No, people don’t expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice.” Obama has the desire, the vision and the ability to turn those words into reality and realign the nation’s priorities to the people rather than policies and things.
Support for Obama’s candidacy runs the gamut from Oprah Winfrey to over 100,000 internet users—and those are just a microcosm of his overall support. Since money plays an important role in a candidate’s ability to get his message to the masses, the 1,500 people, who attended a bash at Winfrey’s estate last month to support Obama, has the potential to translate exponentially into votes. In addition, the California Legislative Black Caucus (LBC) sent a letter to Obama stating that the LBC has endorsed him for president. And in announcing Majority Leader Karen Bass as a member of his national outreach advisory team, Obama stated, “I am proud to have this diverse group of leaders advising me on the issues facing Americans across the country. We will not have success changing this country until we work together uniting instead of dividing all people.” His advisory team will work to ensure that the campaign platform is inclusive of the ideas of all groups.
In keeping with his thrust to institute radical change on behalf of the working people of America, this week, Obama outlined an economic plan that will include tax breaks and has said, “We need a tax code that’s fair—a tax code that rewards work and advances opportunity.”
The country needs Obama’s leadership if the quality of life for the average American is going the improve; for working class people to be able to maintain and sustain their family; and for the children to have the opportunity to be all that they can really be.
Coming from African and American parentage, it can be said that Obama possesses the real ingredients of an African American.