It has been almost a quarter-century since the Reverend Jesse Jackson (Democratic) decided to run for President of the United States. The only time we see African-Americans get elected to the White House is through films and television. For instance, 1998’s Deep Impact, with Oscar winner Morgan Freeman as Tom Beck. “Cities fall but they are rebuilt” he said. “Heroes die but they are remembered.” Next, there was 24‘s David Palmer, portrayed by The Unit‘s Dennis Haysbert, who is still asked by fans to run for the office.
“If anything,” the 54-year-old actor said to The Associated Press earlier this year, “my portrayal of David Palmer, I think, may have helped open the eyes of the American people. And I mean the American people from across the board — from the poorest to the richest, every color and creed, every religious base — to prove the possibility there could be an African-American president, a female president, any type of president that puts the people first.”
Now, that dream has become reality — with Barack Obama, not only elected as the 44th President of the United States, but also the first African-American ever in history. Obama’s victory on Tuesday has put the Democratic Party in power since 2001.
According to some, Obama’s acceptance of the Democratic Presidential nomination coincides with the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” — stating it was divine intervention. There’s even a website dedicated to him as a Messiah figure. He stands for the issues of black people, one said, and appeals to white people because he has a foot on both of them. But most of all, Obama believes that it is time for a change, and the world agrees.
“I think that Barack Obama being the next President,” stated 44-year-old Detroit resident Ricardo Williams, “folks are going to see African-Americans can lead just like every other human being on this earth. I think the racism thing will be thrown out of the window. He represents all the people, and he represents white folks, too.”
Most of the African-American voters said that it has been a long wait for them after years of struggle and perseverance. “We’ve come from slavery to being bus drivers, and mayors, and senators – to now becoming a President” said 52-year-old Detroit native Franklin McCullers.
Though having an African-American President-elect is a groundbreaking event, there are still the pros and cons. “The good news is that Barack Obama’s been elected president” answers the Reverend Oscar W. King III, pastor of the Northwest Unity Baptist Church. “The bad news is that Barack Obama’s been elected President. Now folks are going to expect you to fix everything. The expectations are so high.”
Even Detroit political consultant Adolph Mongo is on the same page. “It’s great,” he continued, “but we still have people getting laid off and kids killing each other and families getting kicked out of their houses. The people who are going to benefit may not be the people today. But it gives hope that there will be a change.”
And it is hope and change that Barack Obama stands for — because it is time both of them in making our country into what it should be … what it can be:
“Change has come to America. This is our moment. This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.”