It is difficult to know how to process the idea that a presidential candidate can fill a stadium to the same capacity as a rock star. But think about it, how does a rocker become a rock star? It’s all about the music. Before we see their faces, we hear their music – and if the music hits us in just that certain way, if it makes us feel something that other music does not make us feel – we become captivated. When we see the singer or group, we want to feel that we can believe that the music and the instrument are one. If they are, it brings us a sense of peace, if they are not, regardless of the music or the instrument that it comes from we feel a discord. We want our apples from an apple tree. We may love oak trees, but we will never trust an apple if it comes from one.
Barack Obama looks like a character out of a Norman Rockwell painting who overdosed on bronzers. He looks like Huckleberry Fin out in the sun too long. He just looks like an average American. From his first speech at the Democratic National Convention, his story sounds like a story out of the “American Dream Book”:
“My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin- roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that’s shown as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before him. While studying here my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor, my grandfather signed up for duty, joined Patton’s army, marched across Europe. Back home my grandmother raised a baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA and later moved west, all the way to Hawaii, in search of opportunity. And they too had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream born of two continents.
My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or “blessed,” believing that in a tolerant America, your name is no barrier to success.”
Black people say that he wouldn’t face the problems that he faces if he were White. White people say that he wouldn’t get the attention that he gets if he were White. There are Black people who don’t trust him because he is not Black enough. There are White people who don’t trust him because he is too Black. Still he packs them in from both races.
I worked in the Title Insurance industry it had functioned the same way for decades. Because it was different than other industries and very set in its ways of functioning, it almost always hired from within. When I first tried to get a job there at a company in that business I was told that it was just too costly to train someone from the outside. Years later I entered the industry as a temp and ended up making it a career. When my Boss was asked to open his own office, he put me in charge of staffing.
The majority of the staff that I hired were, like I was, from outside the industry. This was because I felt that the way the industry functioned was outdated and financially wasteful. I was not going to hire a staff from within the industry because it would be too costly to untrain them. Experience is just another word for habit. If someone is experienced in doing things in a system that is failing, it merely means that they are experienced at working within a failing system. Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. No system can be changed by the same level of consciousness that created it either. If we want a change – we must look outside of the box. And you can’t get more outside of the box than Barak Obama And yet, at the same time he exemplifies the best of the box, he represents the purest form of the American Dream. He is not anti-war, not a peacenik. In that same speech in 2004, he said:
“I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors who won’t be returning to their own hometowns. I thought of the families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one’s full income or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but still lacked long-term health benefits because they were Reservists.
When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they are going, to care for their families while they’re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return and to never, ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace and earn the respect of the world.
Now, let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued. And they must be defeated.”
Yes, he is outside of the box, but think about it, isn’t the outside of the box supposed to let you know what is inside? How does he represent what is inside the box of the United States of America?
He says this:
“…If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child.
If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent.
If there’s an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
It is that fundamental belief — it is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper — that makes this country work.
It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.
There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.
The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.
We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.
There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”
…“I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.
Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better days ahead.
I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity.
I believe we can provide jobs for the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair.
I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs, and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us.”
Those who fear the fact that this country is a melting pot fear Barack Obama – he is the product of our melting pot. But he is not a superstar. He is the appropriate voice for the message that our forefathers created 222 years ago when they met to define our country. He is not a superstar, we gather around the world to hear him speak, partly because his is a message that we, the people of the world, need desperately to believe in again. Yet, it is even more than that – more than anything it is because that little voice inside of each of us tells us that he believes his message. He believes that we can be more than the capital of Capitalism. He believes that we can be, once again, “One Nation, under God – Indivisible… with Liberty and Justice for All.” And most of all, he believes in us. We are in very dark times – we don’t need someone who does the same thing in a different way. We don’t need someone experienced in what it takes to get to where we are, because where we are is lost. We need someone inexperienced in the system that is faulty – we need someone who believes in the spirit of our country, and has the foresight to recreate the system so that it mirrors that spirit, uncorrupted by experts. We need a star to guide us out of the darkness of despair with his belief – his hope – his vision. Someone who believes that each and everyone of us are better than what we have been promised and even more than that – better than what we have been given.