While we do not believe that Sen. Barack Obama’s policies are good for America, we share the feeling of many that his unofficial nomination as the Democratic Party’s candidate for president marks a milestone in our history.
Obama is the first black American to be nominated for president by a major political party. He will face Republican Sen. John McCain in the November general election. That demonstrates conclusively that the attitudes of our people in regard to race have changed dramatically since the days when bigotry was, sadly, an accepted philosophy.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the first black woman to serve in that position, had an especially meaningful comment on Obama: “The United States of America is an extraordinary country,” she said, “It is a country that has overcome many, many — now years, decades, actually a couple of centuries — of trying to make good on its principles.”
“I think what we are seeing is an extraordinary expression of the fact that ‘We the people’ is beginning to mean all of us,” Rice said.
This year’s campaign for president is not an indication of recent change, but is an affirmation of attitudes altered through a process that took many years. It is entirely possible that a black candidate like Obama, in similar circumstances, could have been nominated at some time in the past — though, obviously, not the distant past. Nevertheless, Obama’s victory is a very important confirmation of attitudes in modern America.
Racism still is — and should be — a concern for us as a nation. Too many of our neighbors do not share our definition of “We the people.” But as Obama’s victory demonstrates, they have become a tiny minority — one no longer capable of ruling our deliberations on social and political issues.
Again, we do not believe that an Obama presidency would be good for our nation. But now that it has been established that race is not an issue, voters can begin focusing on the very real policy differences in the campaign.