Illinois Senator Barack Obama became the first African-American male to win the Presidential nomination last Tuesday by reaching the 2,118 delegates needed for the Democratic Party. His fierce rival, New York Senator Hilary Clinton, is expected to concede Saturday, despite her impressive victory in South Dakota & Obama's win in Montana. Hopefully, both candidates will channel their efforts towards defeating Republican Party nominee Arizona Senator John McCain.
The historic battle was the longest & most contested race in our nation's history. Clinton sought to become the first woman to head the Oval Office. She has served as First Lady twice - for 12 years when husband Bill was Governor of Arkansas, as well as eight years when Bill was Commander-In-Chief during the early to late 90's. Many media analysts & party loyalists have been calling for a so-called Obama/Clinton dream ticket from as early as the spring, though it appears unlikely this will happen.
Obama & Clinton have maintained they are friends, both praising the other with personal admiration, professional respect & public accord, yet the media framed the campaign, as well as their relationship, with issues of race & gender & religion. At one point, Obama was forced to end his 20 year bond with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, pastor of Trinity United Church in Chicago, because of sermons Wright made which were perceived as anti-American, controversial & polarizing.
Less than a week after 9-11, Wright, a decorated ex-Marine who advised Bill Clinton before he entered the White House, challenged America for her history of cultural genocide, inept foreign policy, racism, spiritual arrogance & white supremacy. The fiery sermon made its way to youtube & was eventually linked to every major media outlet in America. Wright was demonized & Obama suffered both personal & political backlash for weeks on end. Nevertheless, he persevered with dignity, grace & humility.
Obama has run the most conscientious campaign in modern history. The diversity of his supporters have baffled even the most experienced political pundits. His primary concerns have been affordable college tuition, ending the war on Iraq, healing the housing crisis, lessening governmental reliance on lobbyists, revitalizing the nation's depressed economy, universal health care & valuing the work of teachers. He has successfully raised more money than any Presidential candidate before him, quieting critics' early doubts of his management skills.
No one expected this incredible nomination to ever become a reality. Well, maybe no one except Oprah, who called him "the real deal," when Obama appeared on her show with his beautiful & briliant wife Michelle a couple of years ago. Long before the campaign began in Iowa, Clinton was a virtual shoe-in & Obama was a vested question mark. Most of the media folk concluded Clinton's international experience, name recognition & senatorial work gave her the edge over a field of nine Democratic nominees.
Obama rose to national prominence when Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, the then Democratic Presidential nominee, appointed him to give the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. In the spirit of Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan - who gave a heart-felt keynote address at the 1968 Democratic National Convention - Obama's charisma, eloquence & passion was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale election. Though Kerry lost, Obama's presence was felt & he benefited immensely from that once-in-a-lifetime experience.
It will be interesting to see who Obama selects as his Vice President, as well as the person who gives the keynote address at the upcoming convention in August, which will be held in Denver, Colorado. When asked about this a month or so ago, Obama admitted it would be presumptious but Clinton would be on his short list. Some feel Senators John Edwards & Bill Richardson will play a key role, after their recent endorsements of Obama. I feel joy witnessing the power dynamics of a compassionate, decent, handsome, intelligent & successful Black man at work.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. email@example.com.