Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reason #3: (and why not?) Because he's black

Is that to say that race should be a deciding factor when choosing your candidate. If it were, then Palin's womanity would be nearly as relevant. Still, as a firmly decided voter, I think that pulling the lever for Obama is going to feel, well, historic.

We haven't had that many presidential firsts, come to think of it. Kennedy was the first Catholic. Bill Clinton was the first honorary black president. Aside from that, it's really a long, unbroken string of white males of varying ages.

There's something compelling about a role model on the national stage. Hillary Clinton helped young women dream of becoming president. Sarah Palin let middle-aged Republican women dream of field dressing a moose. I can't exactly claim expertise on the experiences of any minority group, and I know that (despite Obama's impressive ability to speak on racial issues) an Obama presidency isn't going to heal the racial divides or unite the nations in peace and harmony. That's Bono's job.

But I can imagine that an Obama presidency might give some young African-American kid permission to dream of what he or she can accomplish in this society. That's no small thing, and something I'm glad for.

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