"The man who became a son of the Crow Nation and given the name “One who helps people throughout the land” is now a world leader.
On Nov. 4, 2008, Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States. A great barrier in American politics has been broken, with certain measure.
Voters of all ages, colors, and stations overwhelmingly rejected the historical notion that the presidency belongs solely to privileged white males. They rejected identity politics that preyed on fear, instead focusing collective energy on hope, aspiration, and positive change. This defining moment in history belongs not only to the Obamas, but to the millions who worked for and waited a lifetime to witness it.
The Obama campaign was unprecedented in many ways, most notably for its unlikely candidate, a 47-year-old African-American junior senator from Illinois. But Obama’s timely message of unity and purpose inspired into action millions of first-time and minority voters. He garnered overwhelming support among Native people, including youth and elders who identified with Obama’s humility and work ethic. A pragmatic strategy resulted in record returns across all demographics, sending the strong signal that voters are worn out by exclusionary politics and transparent fear mongering.
During his campaign, Obama did not focus on race. With so many issues pressing down hard on the country, the color of his skin mattered far less than the content of his character. Truly, this election awarded the maturity of the candidate as well as the nation. Now will not be the end of racism or prejudice, but it is an acknowledgement that every person has a role in – and a responsibility to – democracy. As Americans continue to celebrate this profound moment in history, watchers around the world are doing the same. It bodes well for restoring the bruised image of the United States at home and abroad."
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Editorial: A shining moment
(Indian Country Today 11/7)
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