- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 16, 2008

President Bush still sits in the Oval Office, but President-elect Barack Obama has already been received as a savior. Oprah Winfrey said Mr. Obama changed her life, scenes of black Americans’ screams and tears of joy filled our TV screens on election night, but while many others shared in the celebration, the same intensity wasn’t there.

Of course Mr. Obama’s election is historic, but the fact that he’ll be our first black president remains the only sure prediction we can make. So, while I can understand the excited anticipation of change, life-altering experiences because of Mr. Obama’s color place the wrong emphasis on his impending presidency.

Race was never a factor for me or millions of other white voters who baffled the Bradley Effect doomsayers - I voted for Mr. Obama primarily for his foreign policy - yet it was the main factor for so many black Americans, whose election-night emotions weren’t because of renewed stem-cell research.

For decades, “because he’s white,” has been an unacceptable justification for nearly everything in America, and although this has caused some racism to fester out of sight, the landslide victory of a black man is proof of a racially open country.

Unfortunately, minorities will always struggle in a democratic system, some level of racism will always exist and history will never change. But the election of Mr. Obama brings America closer to realizing, “because he’s black,” is as irrelevant as, “because he’s white.”

It’s understandable for black people to celebrate Mr. Obama’s victory because of its racial implications, but his election was a group effort in which black Americans only comprised a small part.

In a country where color has been decried as a handicap in need of a government crutch, Mr. Obama has demonstrated that intelligence and perseverance are the only ingredients necessary for success.

His election is a bullhorn in our ears, blaring, “Get past race and deal with the real problems!” The economy and our wars abroad will be Mr. Obama’s true tests by which we’ll judge him. If he succeeds, we’ll love him, and if he fails we probably won’t; but in either case it won’t be because he’s black.



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