BOBBY AND BARACK

In a month, we will have experienced our presidential election. By then, America will have Barack Obama as its new president. That is my prognosis. With Obama's election, a great milestone in American politics will have been achieved. We will have elected the first black and liberal since our nation's founding in 1776. It will truly be a wondrous day for America to both experience and to appreciate.

Having said the obvious, I must admit that I was not a Gung-ho Obama supporter. Sure, I wanted him elected president, but I wasn't Gung-ho about his road to the White House. I've been around elections for years. The last serious candidate that I wanted to become president was Bobby Kennedy, who died nearly 40 years ago when he was assassinated. Along with his actual death came the death of my true hopes and dreams for America and for its leader.

So when Obama got the Democratic nomination, I thought to myself, how could this be? A black, liberal becoming the leader of this country especially after eight years of disastrous leadership from the White House? I was leaving high school, in college, and in graduate school during the civil rights movement back in the 60s. Therefore, I knew America when it was popular to be openly anti-black and racist. America has come a long ways since the days in the early 60s but has it come far enough? Is America going to vote for a black man in 2008? Besides, is it ready for a black man who has liberal ideas?

When Obama became the Democratic nominee, I was happy and thought that he could make a great president-barring that someone doesn't overact against him for his views. I wrote a couple articles about him, went to a rally where I took loads of pictures, and sent him money. Quietly, I sat back hoping that he would become the 44th president of the United States of America.

I listened to the campaign while I went back to teaching my college classes. As the fall semester began in a philosophy class, we were talking about epistemology. One of my students mentioned Bobby Kennedy like I would talk about Teddy Roosevelt. I mentioned that Bobby was my hero when I was in graduate school. Then I added, with sadness, that I haven't gotten over his death. My student seemed shocked that I was old enough to have been enamored by Bobby.

However, it caused me to think about Bobby and Barack. In a strange way, Bobby has returned to politics and a place in my life. No, Bobby isn't resurrected in the biblical sense, but he is back in a political sense in Barack. That revitalized my desire to see Barack Obama become president of the United States.

Obama doesn't really know Bobby like my generation does. He was just starting elementary school when Bobby was murdered. I was in graduate school at that time. So Obama doesn't know what he did for my generation...giving us hope in a time lacking of hope. Bobby gave my generation a dream in a time without dreams. He also assured us of a promise of a new world order both here in the States and beyond. Finally, Bobby was going to bring change to a country that was doing the same old thing...poorly.

The students are gone. They had things to do in their busy lives and world. However, here I sat thinking about how Bobby and Barack have the same vision of hope, dreams, promise, and change.

This Election Day does promise us Barack....



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