Monday, March 03, 2008

Tomorrow is THE day...

I've been on the sidelines this election season, listening to the radio and TV hosts make predictions about how Hillary's faring, Obama's rock star appeal and the rise of the new young voter.

I admit, Obama has had me intrigued for about a year now. When he first announced he was running for president last February, I was curious: How would this fare out? Would he be taken seriously? Is America ready for this? Heck, am I ready for this?

As the months wore on, I found myself becoming enamored with this gentleman from Illinois. Every time I heard his voice on the TV, I would drop whatever I was doing and listen. There's just something about his speech, his delivery, his essence, his - dare I say it? - his swagger. Yeah, I said it. I love Obama's swagger.

I read an article about Obama in my favorite magazine, Essence, maybe six months ago. In it, he talked about having the conversation with his daughters about being president. The writer made the point that how many black dads can say that they've had that conversation? I know my dad never talked to me about his run for the highest office. He was more concerned with paying for my expensive private-school tuition.

In that article, Obama also made a point that made me a hardcore supporter. He said that if he wins the presidency, once America sees Malia and Sasha running around on the front lawn of the White House, it will change the way America sees little black girls. Once Michelle Obama is First Lady, it changes the way America looks at black women, and therefore, it changes the way America looks at itself.

That is so profound to me.

Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett wrote in her column today about voting for Hillary Clinton because she realizes the chance of voting for a woman for president might not ever happen again. Good point. A lot of my friends are on the Hillary-for-Prez bandwagon and I admit I was too at one point, very early in the election process. They want to see a woman in the White House. I can't argue with that.

But having a black man in the White House, as president, is just something I have to see come to fruition. I can see myself in Barack, much easier than I can see myself in Hillary. Perhaps I'm too young to really understand sexism. Maybe because I went to an all-girls high school I believed I was as smart as any guy out here so I don't fall back on gender as an excuse.

I guess what I'm really saying is that I see myself as a black woman, rather than a woman who is black. I don't have much in common with most white women I know. When I see a white woman walking down the street, I don't get the common "How's it going?" nod that I get when I see a black man. There's something about the bond of black folks that won't let me let this chance slip away.

So I'm voting for Barack. Not just for me, but for my kids. When they get old enough to go to school, when they see all the pictures of presidents, they'll see (FINALLY!!!) someone who looks like them, who has their same skin color.

And people say, "Well, Barack's not really black. He's biracial." True. Very, very true. But I genuinely believe that America doesn't recognize biracial people as their own "race." One drop rule still prevails, unfortunately. And if one drop is black (or African, as in Barack's case), then you are lumped in with all the other "black folks."

But this election isn't about race. It isn't about gender. It's about what you want for yourself and future generations. And I want someone in the White House who looks like me, who knows what it's like to defy odds and do the impossible. I want to put someone in the White House that the system is made to block out. I want a president who looks like my daddy.