Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Crossing the Racial Divide

I won't make this a posting extolling Obama, or the magnificent speech he gave today, which was probably the best and most serious speech given by a politician on race in American history. If you need praise then Sully's got all you'll ever want.

But beyond mere praise, Obama's campaign has really changed my life. It's easy just to say that I'm 'a little gay' for Obama, but that trivializes something much greater. I supported Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, but never in my support for them or, well anyone, have I ever felt the need to actually contribute. And I don't mean contribute to their campaigns, but contribute to America, donating my time to soup kitchens, or being a big brother, or serving my country. Obama not only inspires me to do those things but he makes me believe that doing those things can and will make a difference. I suppose that's the greatest reason to support Obama, and the greatest reason why people are supporting Obama. By believing in him you actually start to believe in your country and yourself. Suddenly, all that jingoistic BS that conservative talking heads spout begins to seem honest, and the dreams of MLK or JFK become gospel. Suddenly, you realize what you should have known before: that America is great, because you are great and even in our weakness, our desire and our attempts to be more perfect makes us inspiring.

Feeling that, I sometimes wonder and worry--what if Obama gets assassinated? I worry not out of caring for the man, but for what the man has inspired and continues to inspire within me. I worry because I don't want this train to stop but I want us to continue to come together and believe. I worry that if his fire goes out we'll return to our status quo and go back to the politics of polarization and division that have maimed and paralyzed our population in my lifetime.

So I've decided to make a pledge, a pledge that I hope you'll make with me. I swear, by all that's holy and I consider sacred, that if Obama is assassinated I will run for public office, not out of ambition or pursuit of power, but of a love of country and a desire to make the world just a little bit better. Way I figure, if we all do that, if we all just run maybe a few of us might get elected, and if that happens maybe the dream that Obama inspired within me might come to pass.

Yeah, I know I'm being sentimental, and this isn't too impartial, but it's honest, and considering that it's so rare to actually be inspired by anything these days outside of Eli Manning I like to grab hold and keep that feeling. Hope, real hope, is priceless.

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