But, what does it mean?
Diversity--The Faces of Our Future
We elected President Barack Obama to a second term and some people are excited and others are decidedly pissed off. It was a close race. Forget whatever one else is telling you. It was close. But, it wasn't divided by simple ideology. There were so many reasons people voted for President Obama or Mitt Romney or DIDN'T vote for either one. For the record, I supported President Obama. Let's just get that out of the way. Does that make me less objective? Maybe. But, then again, it doesn't mean that my subjectivity is without merit. Either way, I'm going to have my say, so if you keep reading, I'm hoping that you keep an open mind or don't, because either way it will say to me whether or not you're willing to listen.
I chose President Obama because I believe and still do believe, that he was and is the best choice. I will digress for a few seconds to say that I know that on some ballots there were other candidates, but I didn't know them (or know them well as presidential material) and so we can stop with anyone wanting to point out this fact. I already know that the choice was not just between Romney and Obama. I, however, stand by my statement. No need to have an argument that isn't relative to this conversation. It is a conversation that needs to be had and I'm willing to have it, but this isn't that conversation.
So, what now?
First, let's talk about the reasons that I think President Obama got elected again. I will add here that if you think I'm saying President Obama a lot, you're very astute. I listened to the disrespect of not according him his title by pundits who called him Barack or even Mr. Obama. I will respect both the office and the man in this piece, so you'll read it a lot. So, back to why I think President Obama got elected. In America, there is a serious bout of hatred and bigotry going on. I believe it is an epidemic. If you are not white, then you are suspect. I mean there are white suspects if they are liberal, but they get a respect pass because they are white (mostly). Don't give me examples of whites disrespected by Republicans because I get it. My point is that the disrespect for President Obama was a monumental in-your-face kind of disrespect, from finger wagging in his face to being told you lie while speaking to the legislature. So, for those of us who have been so disrespected, who have had to endure the type of disrespect because of the color of our skin or our ethnicity, we identified and we gave our vote to the brother who endured this type of disrespect with grace and a strength that befuddled many. No matter the disrespect, President Obama stood proud and he stayed the President. Want to know what is Presidential? That's a big one.
"So, you're saying you voted for him because he's black?"
That's okay. I hear the questions you're asking as you read this (I'm good like that). Yeah, you might say so, but those who felt this way, who voted for him, in part, for this reason, aren't all black. They voted for him because despite the vitriolic hatred thrown his way, he never came down to their level. It was IMPRESSIVE. It said something about the man and people who were sitting on the fence cited this as one reason they voted for him.
The other reason is Part 2 to the first reason that made President Obama impressive to many. Because he endured what we knew was beyond the pale disrespect, we also got that he was similarly sensitive to Americans. Both he and the First Lady Obama (yep, affording her the same respect). You could feel it when you saw him embrace a crying woman who lost her home, or would allow a young child to pat his head to see if the President's hair was like his. These weren't staged photo ops, they were the real deal. That some photographer took the opportunity is what a photo op is supposed to be. People said, "he's not perfect, but he cares for the average person."
"Not everyone felt he cared."
I get that and there were times when what he did, made some people think that way. My Latino friends here in Texas and around the country complained about his attention to immigration and that under his watch, more immigrants were deported. See, I get legitimate complaints (unlike legitimate rape). This complaint was true. But, some of the people who said he didn't care were buying into a narrative that refused to acknowledge what he did do right. Auto workers can see where he did his job. Those who were able to refinance their homes with his support did, too. But, he couldn't get to every American and that was also true. I know. My son lost his home. He voted for President Obama, though, because he said that without him, it would have been so much worse. He saw the big picture and a lot of people did. The lesson I've learned from those who voted for President Obama have said that while it wasn't enough, it could have been worse, and that he was on the right track. They also saw clearly the obstruction of the Republican party from day one and they didn't like it. Guess it goes back with being impressed with the man, his integrity and his ability to stay focused on what this job as president entailed.
He did his job and he got better each day. And in the end, he didn't divide us as much as those other folks did. We weren't just pockets of votes, although as a political strategist with a strong team of strategists, he got that we were young, we were old, we were black, white, red, brown, yellow, and white, and all the spectrums in-between, we were Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and many others, believers and non-believers, gay, straight, transgendered, women, men, immigrants and natives, teachers, stay-at-home moms and dads, students, and well a host of others who are simply Americans. Yes, he spoke directly to some of us and let us know that he would listen to all of us.
So, what now?
Well, for me, I have my list and I'm willing to work with those whose list is comparable. I might not get everything that he needs to do, but we will have to work on what WE can do to help President Obama do what we need. On the top of my list are the following issues: the criminal justice system overhaul (especially the prison to cradle pipeline), abolishing the death penalty in this country, and ending drone strikes. These are at the top, but I'm concerned with job creation, but I want to be a job creator rather than getting a job, so overhauling the tax system that won't penalize my getting loans or having to pay higher taxes than Mitt Romney would be a plus. The question is, what's your list include? And if you have a list, are you willing to make sure that the word gets out because President Obama is one man. We, however, are many. Let's get busy!