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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Are we on the verge of greatness?

I'm watching the South Carolina primary returns. I am exhilarated. My friend had asked me to prognosticate the results earlier today. I nailed it! But, I am a professional political scientist, so it is sort of my job to know these things.

We met Barack Obama and his wife Michelle on a 4th of July trip to Iowa. We took a couple of high schoolers with us and traipsed after Barack and Hillary from town to town. We went to Iowa for living room politics - and it did not disappoint. We got to meet Barack, talk to him, shake hands, and look him straight in the eye. Got to do nearly the same with Hillary and Bill and it was all thrilling. But seeing and speaking to Mr. Obama really struck me. He has the type of charisma that is hopeful, exuberant, and inspiring. I knew that I was seeing was the real deal. No pretension, no theatrics, just putting himself out there with his ideals and vision. I believe it is that character that transcends race. I believe it is what we see in South Carolina today. I believe this is the force that Hillary is facing and realizing she may not be able to overcome.

Politics is a battle, it is a winner take all environment, and it is humbling or humiliating. Most people won't risk the potential of losing and the humiliation they think they will endure. Those that do risk their ego by running do so with either a "fire in the belly" to win at all costs or a visionary leadership that says, "this is who I am and I hope to win, but if I don't, I can say I was true to myself." I am hoping this is who Barack is. I fear this is not who Hillary is. I know this is who my friend is; the one who is running for local office.

So much was said today by the political analysts about race. Blah, blah, blah,...Obama will win the black vote, but can he be competitive with Whites? Hello!!! He won Iowa - the state that is about as white as it gets, save for Idaho! The pundants want to make it a racial contest - maybe they think it will invite more viewers. The news people are mostly white. I don't think they have a clue about what is going on in the country with race relations, yet they have the strings to elevate and suppress information, spin, and insight. Tonight's election results cannot be denied. This country may have turned a corner...

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