Race matters to me. Simply, it has to because it matters to my children and it matters to the world my children live in.
Many years ago when my sons were quite little we made a move that shocked many. We left the church we had been comfortably attending for another. The move precipitated by my son looking around the almost exclusively white church one Sunday morning and whispering none too quietly, "Mommy why don't any brown people love Jesus?" The implication being that HE was definitely not white, and what was HE doing there?
We heard of a church with a black pastor. For that reason, and that reason only, we moved to his church. At that moment I didn't care WHAT he was preaching, what denomination the church was or whether or not anything about it would appeal to me. The pastor was the right color for my sons and what our sons needed to see reflected on Sunday mornings. It was where we needed to be because it was best for our sons. Thankfully, it was also best for us and that church became our home. Our pastor became our family. Just this morning his wife and I fondly dreamed ahead of a joint marriage between any of their 3 daughters and any of our 4 sons.
Boys talking politics at church with friends.
Its not exactly breaking news if you know me in real life or follow my blog that I am an Obama fan.
I have been accused of being a "Stupid Foreigner" and told to mind my own business. I've been accused of falling for the Obama "machine" or being blinded by the media. I have been accused of being not Christian "enough" if I support him. I've been accused of being racist.
I usually reply that I am married to an American citizen. I am mother of two more. Sister-in-law to 4 Americans, Aunt to 6. Friend of many.
My husband's job (and as such the roof over my head) is DIRECTLY tied to the American economy as are many, many jobs in our community. The world is tied to America, even if we hate to admit it.
I have researched the issues and agree with his positions on many, if not most of them. I strongly support his policies. (ok, also VERY strongly disagree with the Republican position on many too, especially the racist hate mongering coming out of many of their offices, if not directly from the leadership themselves, and need I mention the war? the economy? international relations?).
I have read his book. I liked it, thoroughly.
I like the man. I like his ideas. I find him inspiring, interesting and pretty darn cute too.
And the reality is, he is black. To say that's not an issue for me would be a lie. Barack Obama is a BLACK man who has every chance to WIN the Presidency of the United States of America and that simple fact thrills me to my very toes.
Ahead of all else, I am a mother. I am a mother to my sons. Ahead of the church I attend, ahead of the friends I have, ahead of the job I keep, ahead of anything and everything - I am a mother to my sons. And two of those sons happen to be black.
I want my sons to have a President that reflects their face. Their story. I want to be able to look my sons in the eye and say YOU CAN BE ANYTHING. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G you set your mind to be. Doctor, lawyer, pastor, Prime Minister OR President. You can BE anything.
I want him for every African American senior, and the whites that stood beside them, that faced segregation every day of their childhoods. For those that had to only DREAM of being able to attend the same schools, eat at the same restaurants, given the same chances as their white peers. A black President, in THEIR life time? Unimaginable.
For those that were spit on, hated, hit and feared because of the color of their skin.
For those that heard Dr. Martin Luther King's speech the day it was given and grabbed onto that hope that one day men, men like MY SONS, would be judged for the content of their hearts not the color of their skin.
I imagine what this election means to those who had to put their lives on the line so that I could one day be a mother to my children. So that our family would be accepted by society. So that my children could imagine a future full of hope and prosperity, and see others like themselves living that dream.
I gleefully imagine the shock in every racist heart when they face the reality that the MAJORITY of blacks, whites AND hispanics support Obama for President. I relish the idea that their fear, hatred and ignorance is being challenged.
I support Obama because he represents an unthinkable and an unimaginable dream even a generation ago.
I support Obama because he has given me hope for my sons. That their world will not be full of hatred and racism based on fear of differences rather than the ties of sameness that bind us.
I support Obama.
I'd vote if I could. I can't but many of YOU can. Go. Vote.
Yes we can.
YES WE CAN. YES WE CAN. YES WE CAN.