With all the talk about qualifications during this election cycle, it may be a good thing to consider that this election has less to do with the qualifications of Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. John McCain than it has to do with how far Americans have come and also with our qualifications to be leaders of the free world.
The United States is a nation of diverse men and women. It is not an inert line of train cars waiting for an engine to pull it along, an ocean liner waiting in dock for a strong hand at the tiller or even a flock of sheep in need of a shepherd.
For centuries, we have shown the world that 50 autonomous states can function as one nation, but our ability to work together cooperatively as one people has always been an open question.
The nation will survive regardless of who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but the leader we choose on Tuesday will proclaim to the world what kind of people he will be leading. Our choice will declare to the rest of the global community whether “we the people,” the citizens of this great land, are finally prepared to take our place as the leaders of humanity.
If we elect Mr. Obama as president, his maternal Caucasian heritage must not be discarded in the name of ethnic pride. He will be the first true president of a qualified American people. He cannot be elected by blacks alone. He must be elected by Americans of all stripes. In the years ahead, we will need constant reminders that this election was not about him, but about “we the people.” He will need to understand that we did not elect him because of who he is but as a statement of who we are. It will not be his presidency, but ours. Long after he has vacated the White House, we will remain.
DARIUS A. LECOINTE
West Friendship, Md.