Why I Like Obama


I didn’t vote for Obama (I didn’t vote for McCain, either, by the way).  Obama has more optimism about the government’s ability to solve the problems of the world than I do.  But I’m not terribly troubled about his political views reversing trends that have been in place for the last several years.  On the contrary, I’ve been fairly displeased with the gradual increase of the power of the executive branch over the last eight years.  I also feel that we could do a much better job of diplomacy among countries with ideologies that are different from ours.

But this article here touches on the real reason I’m actually quite pleased to have Obama in office.  I teach high school, and three fourths of my students are African-American.  By my lights, they and their families are perpetually struggling with life for a lack of positive male role models.  They idolize people like Tupak, or Lil’ Wayne, or maybe the occasional NBA player.  Nobody who would show a young man how to treat a woman, or hold down a steady, unglamorous job.
But now we have a man in office who clearly displays love for his wife and his children.  He demonstrates a deep respect for thinking through things, listening to people whose views are different from your own, and shows a remarkable ability to articulate complex ideas with unusual clarity.  He represents a new ideal for young black men who want to mean something to the world.  And he didn’t get there by packing heat, wearing the right flag on his $500 jeans, or selling CD’s.  He doesn’t boast about how many women he can objectify, or how free he is from the rule of law.  He is in every way just the opposite.
So I’m pretty pleased.  Not so much with socialized health care, or protectionist economic policy.  But I’m pretty happy with the man.  And maybe that means more than we think.
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