America?” And more directly, “what affect, if any, has it had on you as an individual?” Michael Quintana (24, Hispanic, Artist): “I do feel that having a Black President changed America by causing many who were racists and claimed they would never accept an African American as President to change their minds; not only because of Mr. Obama’s poise and ability to handle the position, but also because not doing so would challenge the sincerity of the patriotism, they claim to have for the American way of life.” Robert Apodaca (44, Hispanic, Denver Sheriff): “I hate to say it but I think the hatred and racism many people kept bottled up has leaked out of them as a result of there being a Black president. Before Obama was elected, they may have been able to pretend they weren’t bigots and keep their deep-seeded, prejudicial views secret because there was no cause to air them out. But when face to face with the reality of an African American president, their true feelings came to the surface.” “I like Obama and think he needs more than four years to straighten out the mess he was handed. It took longer than four years for this nation to get so jacked up and it will take more than just one presidential term to fix it. The man deserves a lot of credit for how he has handled things, not to mention the guts it took to go into Pakistan and get Bin Laden; something no previous administration was able to do. But instead of getting credit for a job well done, he often gets the finger pointed at him for any and every little imperfection. Part of the blame for that goes to our American way of politicking and the Republicans. They are so backwards they care more about party lines of Red vs. Blue than they do right or wrong; acting more like gang members than statesmen.” Robert Welcome (38, White, General Contractor); “I don’t think it’s really
changed anything at all, and it has nothing to do with color. A lot of Americans are still broke and out of work. The housing market remains at an all-time low. The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer, and I continue and I continue to pay almost four dollars a gallon for gasoline.” Jennifer Green (36, White, LPN): “I think it has in some ways and hasn’t in others. In one sense, we are better people and less inclined to limit anyone based on race or gender. Yet I can’t say it’s changed our economy a whole lot. We’re still in the same basic situation we were in before. However, I still believe he’s the right one for the job and will vote for him again next November. I think he deserves four more years to fix the problems that no one else could have done any better with in such a short time.” Fred Pena (49, Hispanic, Commercial Painter): “I definitely believe that having a Black President changed America for the better. It opened doors of opportunity for minorities and women and encouraged all of us to reach for goals that one time may have seemed unattainable. People on all levels, from national to municipal jurisdictions, are much more likely to get involved with government and run for its’ offices. I think what Mr. Obama did by becoming President was re-kindle the spirit of hope in the hearts of many Americans that Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr. helped instill with his famous “I have a Dream” speech. We had become complacent with the current status quo and he challenged us to reach for an even higher standard of Americanism. For me personally, he strengthened my faith in the American Dream and way of life. His election proved that regardless of race, creed, or color any citizen of the United States can rise to the highest pinnacle of our democracy. I’ve always loved this country, but Mr. Obama helped re-spark the flame.” David Henry (46, Black, Pastor): “While I do appreciate the astronomi-
cal changes Mr. Obama’s presidency has bought to our nation, I cannot, in good conscious, support him just because he’s black. As a Christian, I must examine his policies in light, of God’s Word and unfortunately, I find them to be contrary to each other. His support of homosexuality and samesex marriages is an abomination to this country that was founded upon Biblical principles. I also question what he has actually done for us as a people. I do, however, like the guy and will continue to respect and pray for him, as is our duty toward all of our leaders. I’m just hoping he’ll turn us around towards God and not just ‘freedom’. After all, what good is liberty if it leads us to hell?” John Brungardt (20, White Restoration Tech): “Although I recognize that Mr. Obama is this nation’s first non-white President, I think what he has done towards changing America has more to do with his heart than it does his complexion. He wants better health care, more jobs, and better way of life for all Americans, not just for minorities.” Sheine Derleth (22, White, Disc Jockey): “I honestly hoped either he or Hillary got the election because it would prove that our historical values really have changed. I’m not prejudiced and believe all people are equal and am glad to see the majority of his country feels the same. As far as me personally, I can’t say I’ve been affected by his presidency one way or the other. My economic situation hasn’t changed all that much. But I do hope he’s re-elected because it would serve as a double confirmation of the positive strides we’ve made as a nation.” John Cox (49, Black, Food Service Equipment): “On the one hand I do think it’s changed a lot of people’s opinions about Blacks in general because of President Obama’s accomplishments. But as far as our economic situation, I don’t see much of a change at all. I’m still having just as much trouble finding a job as I did before he was elected.”
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Rita Nakano (54, Italian American, Civil Service): “President Obama’s election has proven that anything can and will happen. I think he’s a good inspiration to all people in spite of all the negative racists who have just become even more embittered as a result of an African American being in office. Those people refuse to give him a break because they want to see him fail. I voted for him the first time and will definitely do it again. I think he’s doing a fantastic job considering everything he’s had to deal with.” While these are only a fraction of the views so many of you shared with us, they were selected because they accurately represent the wide range of varying opinions we received as a result of this article. I personally want to thank all who contributed to it, for not only have I gained a much broader perspective of the issues at hand, I’ve also come to a greater understanding of some of the deeper questions facing us as individuals and as a nation. Questions like; can we, as African Americans, separate our support for Barack Obama as a Black man who represents our hope for a less racist America from our obligation to honestly assess him as a President. We hold responsible to bring about positive socio-economic change directly to our communities? And, if our Christian beliefs and moral convictions ever come in direct conflict with our desire to be politically correct, what side will we choose? These are just examples of the kinds of questions we might very well ask ourselves before jumping on to our political bandwagons. We owe it to those who have given their lives for this nation, and also to those whose future lives will be affected by our choices., to make our decisions with all due diligence. Has having a Black President really changed America? My answer is now we have a Black President BECAUSE America has changed. But, are all of the changes for the better?
Published on Nov 1, 2011