Picture By Pete Souza, The Obama-Biden Transition Project [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
I just couldn’t do it. In 2008, faced with the opportunity to join in making history, I could not bring myself to
vote on the basis of race. Instead I did what I would in any other presidential election. I took the time to read and study, voting for the candidate I thought would do the best job. Not that I was oblivious to the opportunity to change the face of the nation but I saw a lot more than history at stake. And so I could not vote based on the candidate’s race nor could I enjoy eight years of history while the White House was occupied by its first black first family.
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to see a minority in the White House. At the same time I feared what might happen if the first black was the wrong black. The president lives under a very intense microscope with his every move examined and documented. I figured a black president would find the optics focused to a much higher intensity, facing scrutiny like none other before. A misstep here or an embarrassing gesture there and the entire race would have been labeled by those who believe minorities lack what is needed to run the free world. And so in 2008 I looked for the right person for the job knowing that the first black, if he were not fit, would close the door on the possibility of another holding the office in the future.
With his two terms in office now behind us I can say that President Obama and his family exhibited a very high regard for the office, conducting themselves in a manner that serves as an example to anyone of any race. Did I agree with all of his actions? No, but I have yet to agree 100% with anyone. Even while disagreeing with the president I was able to respect the man. So now, in 2017, I can finally enjoy the historical aspects of having had our first black president. Only now can I celebrate knowing the Obamas have left us with a historical record for which the entire race...the entire country...can be proud.