This is Not About Barack Obama

This is not about Barack Obama.

I’ve stared at that photo, which surfaced on my radar in the wake of his election on Wednesday morning, for minutes at a time, several times. I’ve studied the curve of his chin meeting his lip, the wrinkle carved by his smile, and the oversized watch resting on his narrow wrist. I’ve tried to peer under his eyelids, feel the crease on his shirt sleeve, and yearned to hear the thoughts in his head. I’ve shook his hand holding that ice cream cone, I’ve walked miles for the change he promises to create and I’ve cried for the hope that his presence brings.

But after all of that, after I’ve placed my entire focus on our President-elect Barack Obama, I can’t help but stare down at the spot on the counter where the napkin crumples on the laminate, wiping away some unseen impurity.

This is not about Barack Obama.

The victory on Tuesday: the tears or the joy, the trembling lip of Jesse Jackson or the six year-old girl standing next to me, the powerful speech or the thoughts racing through my head.

The people I met in Austin or New Mexico, on dingy tour buses or at donated card tables. The woman in the clogs or the man in the cowboy boots. The State Trooper who pulled me over and said “Nice plates” or the old Texas man who towed my car saying “Why, I kinda’ like the guy.” The block walkers or the phone bankers. The old ladies with big hats or the young men with big egos. The old faces or the new faces – the same faces at 10:00 PM Tuesday night.

This is not about Barack Obama.

This is about the napkin on that counter. We can all have a part in cleansing the impurities of America. We can assume that someone else will do it for us, we can hope Obama will on his own, or we can begin now ourselves.

This is not about Barack Obama, or his campaign strategy, or his historic win. His vision might have opened our eyes but it’s time we see our own future and realize it.

Join us.


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