November 17, 2008

Reflections on "The One"

In the service of the presidency

I've been pondering a variety of impressions and vibes being thrown off by this historic transition that is occurring.

I marveled and laughed out loud as I watched a clip of President-Elect Obama's visit to the White House to speak with President Bush and saw the unmistakable swagger of a black man as Barack Obama walked down the hallway with the President. Brothers and sisters all over the country noted it too, from my mother in Ohio to the brothers at the barbershop down the street.

I thought about the inspiration that Obama is giving to black men in America. I believe its out there, a palpable, tangible upward effect on the psyche of brothers, the presence of a black president. I know that I'm aware of it. Its not a sudden thing, but a slowly growing feeling. Forget "I wanna be like Mike". I wanna be like Obama. I'm catching thoughts running through my head like quicksilver..."Obama did it. Now you gotta do your thang".

I wonder if something akin to it but in a weird reverse way, might be happening in the minds of white people. Is Obama's triumph causing some whites to gradually begin to perceive black men in general in a different, more positive fashion? Will bosses and managers who didn't perceive potential in the brother that worked for them take a second look with a new eye? Might their not occur a major shift for the better in perceptions of black men, fueled by the success of Obama, that lifts all boats as it were. Will his success become the standard for what society assumes black men are capable of? I wonder.

I've thought a time or two that I'm glad to have a president who has some "cool" factor. I'm glad to have a president (at least for now) who's election was greeted with joy and thanksgiving and good will around the planet. I'm glad to have a president that makes the world think that America is still on the path of perfection in the pursuit of its ideals.

Lastly, I wondered about life in the White House for the next four years.

As the Obama's prepare for their installation as the First Family of the United States, I wondered about the feelings of the White House residence staff. Many of them are African American, some who's family's have had a long association in the service of the presidency. After so many years, to serve an African American First Family in the White House must seem a thing to marvel at. With what feeling of pride and earnest, sober bonhomie will they greet their arrival?