Was America Really Ready for a Black President?

Lydia Hilliard, Philadelphia Daily News, Dec. 8, 2010

TWENTY-five months ago, I watched in awe as people of all colors stood shoulder to shoulder in solidarity. Some even wept with joy. The moment was Nov. 4, 2008, the night our 44th president, Barack Obama, was elected. Our first black president!

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I remember sometime in 2007, sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for my annual physical, browsing through a magazine. On the cover was the picture of a handsome young man whom I’d never heard of with one of the most interesting names I’d ever heard–Barack Obama, a fresh new face in the politics. But even then I possessed skepticism that the U.S. would actually elect a black president.

Now, post-Nov. 4, everyone appears to have jumped ship. Obama has two more years until the next election, and people have already written him off as a failure because, amazingly, he didn’t turn out to be the messiah they’d expected.

So since there seems to be very few voices espousing our president, I’ve decided to be at least one saying, People, it’s not over yet!

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When I hear the tea party scream about wanting their country back because this man dared to try to help the poor with no health insurance by making it the government’s responsibility, I want to puke. But forgive me, I’m a middle-class black woman trying to survive in this Yet to Be United States, as Maya Angelou once poignantly said. I understand how creating a universal-health-care system would certainly cost big business real money, but if it’s a choice between their profits or my 87-year-old Nanna getting a much-needed procedure, I think I’m going to go with door No. 2, Monty!

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Yes, there have been some missteps, but I respect and admire a man who takes responsibility for whatever hand he may have had in it. Instead of pointing fingers and preparing for a Republican takeover, why not (for however long he has left) put your money where your political mouths are? Give solutions.

At the end of the day, to some people, Obama is just another black man, not good enough. And no matter what he does, he never will be.

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So whether or not America was ready for a black president is a moot point. He’s here. The annals of history will record the name Barack Hussein Obama along with Kennedy, Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt, among many others. Now it’s time for his supporters to stand up and support the man we cried and cheered for two years ago.

In the meantime, this African-American, middle-class mother of four says–Go, Obama! Yes we still can!

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