Monday, November 17, 2008

The Making of a President


The Making of a President

Certain things in life are just meant to be, and the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States was one of those things. What were the chances that at the lowest point in this nation's history that a young Black man would walk unto the world's stage from out of nowhere, and capture the hearts and confidence of not only the American people, but the world? The chances were slim to none, but when dealing with providence, chance doesn't enter the equation. Barack Obama was simply meant to be. From the moment the first Black man was chained to a slave ship, his role in posterity was assigned. It was written in the wind. And isn't it ironic that just one Black man from Kenya would be destined to come to the aid of the children of a million of his stolen brothers.

Yes indeed, it was written in the wind. The symbolism surrounding everything this young Black man represents is so powerful that just trying to explain it forces one to become melodramatic. It's poetic in its effect. He's the very personification of the prayers of a million slaves.

First, he's the product of both Africa and America, just like the African American people as a whole. Some may say, "yeah, but he has White blood." Well, news flash–so do most of us. And beyond that, everything about him contradicts the lies that have been spread about us by racists every since the moment we set foot on this land.

They said that we were ignorant, yet, this young Black man with the African name will probably be one of the most intelligent presidents this country has ever had. They said that we couldn't be educated, yet, Barack Obama will quite probably be one of the most learned presidents this nation has ever seen. They said that we were lazy, yet, even before he's been sworn in, President-elect Obama is hard at work trying to resolve this nation's problems, while the current president is all but napping under a shade tree as the country falls apart. But the most symbolic irony of all, is the fact that this nation is likely to be saved by a president who comes from the very people who's been treated so badly.

But could it be true that this man's ascendency was written in the wind? Let us consider the events that had to come together to make A President Obama possible. First, the DNA of an African boy in Kenya had to be mixed with a young White girl in Kansas, the heartland of America. That entailed the African boy traveling all the way to the United States, then of all the women in America, he had to find just that one who, combined with him, would produce the qualities of Barack Obama. Once that was done, Barack's father had fulfilled his task. So shortly thereafter, and after a brief bonding with his son, he passed on.

And he chose well, because Barack's mother had to have the insight, determination, and knowledge to wake her young Black son every morning at 4 a.m. To prepare him, and lay a foundation to ensure that he had a fighting chance in a world that she knew wouldn't cut him a bit of slack.

She then traveled, with her son in tow, exposing him to a knowledge of different cultures–including the Muslim culture, a knowledge that would prove invaluable to his future task. Then once her task was done, she suffered a lingering death–and even her death served a purpose. It exposed her son to the suffering of the middle class and poor who became ill without the resources to sustain themselves.

Barack was also exposed to the lifestyle and attitudes of his White middle class grandparents, giving him a specialized knowledge of White cultural mores in the heartland of America. They could have very easily chosen not to deal with the pressures and stigma of raising a Black child in their lily White world. But they turned out to be people of very strong character, and their love for their grandson completely overwhelmed any adversities that they would have to face. So through the devotion and struggles of his grandparents, Barack learned that people are people, and that we all love and suffer, in the very same way.

Once his grandparents' task was done, they too died–first his grandfather, and finally, his grandmother--but not before she delivered her grandson to the very threshold of greatness. Ms. Madelyn Dunham died just one day before her grandson would be elected President of the United States of America.

It's almost enough to make one feel sorry for Sen. McCain, because as Val would say, he never had a chance. The confluence of events made his task insurmountable: Katrina, Republican scandals, the collapse of the Bush administration, the financial crisis, and a very formidable Barack Obama, a man who had groomed by God himself, to lead America through these very trying times. It had all been written in the wind.

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but certainly no more ridiculous than if I had told you that on the forty-fifth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's prophecy that "I Have a Dream," a young Black man with the Muslim name of Barack Hussein Obama would accept the Democratic nomination for President of the United States to cheering crowds all over the world. And while it might sound ridiculous, it's no more ridiculous than if I had told you that a conservative preacher would suggest that all Republicans pray that it rained on Obama's acceptance speech, only to have the ill wind and rain of a mighty hurricane, disrupt the Republican National Convention, blowing in the controversy of Sarah Palin and "Troopergate," making it all but impossible for the Republicans to win. And while it may sound ridiculous, surely no more ridiculous than if I'd told you that former officials of the Bush administration, a member of the Eisenhower family, and the son of William F. Buckley himself, would cross party lines to support this young Black man. So, ridiculous? I don't think so.

But some might say, if this is truly an act of God, why would he be so cruel as to allow the untimely death of Barack's grandmother just one day before the proudest day of her life? In response, and as a person who's not even particularly religious, it says to me that there must be something beyond this life. Thus, I don't think taking Barack's grandmother away was a cruel act of God at all–on the contrary. It was a blessing.

What the world may see as an untimely death, was actually a reward from God for a job well done. He rewarded that grand lady with the best seat in the house--free of suffering, free of the ravages of age and physical pain–and gave her a sky box, right along beside her husband and daughter, to witness the wondrous moment that their love, selfless sacrifice, and dedication hath wrought.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Eric L. Wattree

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