The American Candidate



During a campaign stop last week in St. Petersburg, Fla., presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama was heckled by members of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, a Pan-African group charged with highlighting the struggle and plight of African peoples around the world.

In my opinion, this was truly, truly a sad sight to see.

People from all walks of life, all races must understand this man; what he stands for, what he thinks, what he believes in and what he says. Barack Obama will not play to the special interest groups across this country whether they are Black, White, gay or straight. Instead, he challenges these people to think differently, to raise the level of discourse and to say this election is bigger than anything we have ever seen before.

Barack Obama has and always will continue to support and uplift the African American community. He did so during his time as a community organizer in the South Side of Chicago and in the Illinois State House. However, what he will not do is make this election out to be a war of race and entitlement. Obama has spoken up for those who can not do so. He has stood up for those, marched with those, and inspired a generation that transcends skin color.

Many in the African American community have failed to see this, or maybe do not want to see this. Our issues are not our own, but shared by so many others. We now must join the national discussion on the direction of our country. I am inspired by Obama and he gives me hope not just because I am African American, but as an American in general. I know that government cannot solve all of my problems and I don’t expect it to do so, I know that I myself must work hard to see the change that I want and that one man cannot do it all.

Barack Obama is simply saying what many do not want to hear. He is not playing to their expectations of what a “Black candidate” should be like. I even wonder what that candidate would be like. I hope that the candidate is one who encompasses our issues together and who doesn’t play to one side more than the other. I am embarrassed that it has come to this even though I knew it would. To some, he doesn’t look like them, talk like them, or act like them. I have had similar issues and questions thrown at me over the course of my own life, and probably will endure more with time. However, it has made me stronger, for myself, my family, my community and my country. As Obama said, this is our time, our chance and the time for change is now. It’s time we joined that table of brotherhood.

Sumpter is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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