“Rise oh fallen fighters, rise and take your stance again, cause he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.”
I found myself taking great comfort from Marley’s song last night as I watched the returns from Pennsylvania, not that I expected Senator Obama to win. After all the Governor of the state had already said quite comfortably that there are people in his state that will not vote for an African American. The ease with which he made the comment spoke volumes, especially as we move forward into this brave new century. The idea that the more things change the more they stay the same comes easily to mind, especially when you consider that I work daily with people who probably feel the same way.
Oh don’t misunderstand, there is absolute civility in the workplace, we even manage to joke and socialize during company sponsored events, but at the end of the day we all retreat to our own enclaves and that is where all efforts of reaching out and bridging anything even resembling genuine friendship ends.
Senator Obama faces a huge challenge because he is asking people to look inside themselves and trust him on levels that they have been reluctant to do because some people still perceive him as the “X” factor, the unknown whose agenda might be suspect. The fact that the Clinton’s and the media have gone to great length to paint the Senator as someone who has not been thoroughly vetted has certainly not helped and in fact has given voice to the very persons who cling to their own enclaves for security. Case in point I work with a young woman who has told me she never reads anything and only gets her news from me or her husband. I cannot tell you how frightening that is in 2008, yet these are the people who will decide who will run this superpower.
For those of us who are nursing our disappointment, it’s not only because Senator Obama lost, we expected that given the demographics; rather it is because this type of closed, change resistant mindset still exists in a world that is changing rapidly, at a time when we need a statesman who can bring out the best in all of us and help us restore this country’s stature in the world. In short we just wish people could give themselves permission even for a moment, to listen with objective ears to what is being said and then ask themselves what exactly they find to fear in Senator Obama’s message.