As I noted in a previous post, I’ve been a supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign since last summer, so I’m understandably excited to see his popularity accelerating as we approach nomination time. This past weekend I finally had a chance to sit down and read his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, and it only reinforced my already considerable enthusiasm for his promise as our prospective national leader.
Independent of his current political role, the book is a lucid and thoughtful exploration of Obama’s racial identity and his struggle to find an authentic place for himself in America’s racially divided culture. But when considered in the context of his current position, the candor offered in his memoir has actually forced me to reconsider some of my most cynical views about our country’s political process. If a black man can be so publicly and indelibly forthright about his personal struggles and path to identity and still be in contention for the highest office in the country, we are a better nation than I gave us credit for.
There are many substantive and issue-based reasons why I believe Barack Obama should be our next President, but none of them is more important to me than what his election would tell us about ourselves and the kind of country we want to be. I want to be a citizen in a country that can elect a man like Barack Obama to its highest office.