Barack Obama. It gets people talking. Just mentioning his name creates debate. But we know where I stand. I know he is the right person at the right time for the right job. But the debate will continue on whether he is the right person and whether he as the experience and whether he is who he says he is. But let’s bring it back to basics. Let’s remind ourselves what this is all about. And to Barack – never ever forget what this is all about.
1. It’s about race
Don’t let anyone tell you that this is not about race. That America has moved beyond race. This is all about race. But for all the right reasons. Let’s never forget Harold Ford Jr. He was one of the first guys I looked at and thought – wow, this guy could be it. But Tennessee decided no. But this time America has the opportunity to show the world, and itself, that it has moved beyond race. It doesn’t matter – and it shouldn’t matter. It should send the message to people like email@example.com who emailed me a few times after my last piece on Obama and wrote in his last email: “You’re a f*cking traitor and should be hung from the nearest tree. Drop dead you sorry piece of sh*t.” Obama is America’s chance to tell the world that people like that is not part of the American psyche. Obama – never forget this. People will look at you a bit more closely than the usual. But that is okay. We want people to pay close attention. Because you will show them what an American President should be about. Race counts. But by the time you are done as President – it won’t. You have the opportunity to be remembered as one of the greatest Americans Presidents. And not the first African American President. We don’t want you to be remembered for that – because that is who you are. Redefining race in the race to become the next great American President.
2. It’s about the future
Everyone else reminds us of the past. Mac is essentially a good guy. But he is about the past. The difficult times of the past. The past where he became a hero in a war many people didn’t want. He stands for many of the things that are good about America. But that is the good things of the past. And he reminds us that he lost against a man that reflected an America of the past – an America at constant war. Cold War or real war – it doesn’t matter. It is a past that is over. America can redefine the world. But does it want to redefine the world at war? Or a world of peace and prosperity? And Hillary reminds us of a more recent past. A past where Presidents divided people. President Bill Clinton was loved by many, but he also brought out the worst in the conservative and right-wing politics we still suffer from today. Hillary will be a reminder of that past. A past where the American people remain divided between Democrats and Republicans – and every ugly bit that goes with that. What America needs is a future it can look forward to. A future of hope and a future of change. A future where Americans can be what they are – a powerful nation united for the good of the world. Obama – never forget that you must redefine the future. Take America to a better place and a better future all Americans can be proud of again.
3. It’s about America
Yes, this election is about America. It is about the heart and soul of America. It is about a President that can be an American President. And not a Democratic or Republican President. And not a President of the few. And not a President of the corporate world. And not a President of the rich and privileged. And not a President of horseless cowboys and fake toughness. No. America deserves better. America deserves a President for all of America. An American President. Elected by the people and for the people. Obama – never, ever turn your back on the people. America needs you. Needs you to make them proud of their President again. Fight the vested interest each and every day – and in every corner. Americans love a good fight. Americans will always be behind you as long as they know you are fighting for them and not fighting for a corporate or party interest. America deserves better. America deserves an American President.
4. It’s about the world
But it is not only about America. It is also about the world. We, the world, need a strong America. But we need that strong America to be on our side. On the side of justice and peace. Not an America that divides the world and who leads the world into war. The world hasn’t been this divided since the Cold War. America must be better than that. It must be – that is the burden of leadership. It must be better than the radicals of the left and the radicals of the right. It must be better than the radicals of religion and the radicals of terrorism. That is what the world expects – an America that can point us in the direction of peace and prosperity. An America that can rise above the challenges thrown at us day in and day out. An America that can be the beacon of hope in a world divided. People across the world respect and love what Americans stand for. But we don’t know how to feel about what America stands for today. We know that Bush is not America. But we also want to know what America means to the world and what the world means to America. The world needs America to be on the side of the plain and simple people. We can’t survive the wars you make against the extremist of the world. But we can’t survive without a just and friendly America either. Obama – never forget that America needs to take its rightful place in this world. We expect it and America needs it.
5. It’s about you and me
This is the Last Chance Saloon. People are giving up on democracy. It is a joke in Russia. It is a joke in Zimbabwe. It is a joke in Iraq. And it has been a joke in America since 2001. People are losing hope. Losing hope that good people will run our world again. Because everywhere they go they see lies and more lies. It would have been called propaganda if it wasn’t for the facade of democracy. People like myself look at the world and hope and pray we can have another Mandela. Another Kennedy. Another Ghandi. Another world leader to be proud of. Another world leader that can give us hope of a better world. But more importantly – a better us. Obama – this election is about you and me. I put my trust in you. I am a cynic. I don’t think the world will get better. I just do what I do to make sure it doesn’t get too much worse. It feels like we are treading water. Not actually drowning. But not moving. We know that we will tire and eventually die fighting the waves of injustice, hunger, illness, poverty and war – all the worse things we face each day in this little globe of ours. Yes. I am a cynical and angry African. Angry because the world is not as complex as they would like us to believe. Angry because the problems we face are not that difficult to solve. Not if we all stand together and follow a leader we can believe will give it a good shot. Angry because our leaders laugh at us behind our backs. Yes. I am a cynical man. But I believe in you. I believe you are the man you say you are. But this is the last time I will do this. You will be the man and President we want you to be. You owe this to us. You owe this to me. You owe me the same belief in yourself that I have. You owe me another chance to believe in our leaders. You owe yourself a chance to be the leader I believe in. Obama – never forget that this is about you and me. My belief in you as the last chance for our political leaders to make me believe in them again. Don’t disappoint me. I don’t think I have it in me to believe in another one again. It’s you and me, Obama.
I know that this is a heavy burden to carry. The burden of hope. Hope of a better world. Hope of a better America. Hope of a better President undefined by race. Hope of a better future. My hope in you. But I know you have it in you. Stand strong and we will stand with you. We are the voices you hear when it goes quiet. We are the faces you see when the lights go out at night. We are you. Be strong. Be us. Be with us. Don’t ever forget the burden of hope. Our hope.