- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2009




In case you didn’t get the memo, this former slaveholding nation has just sworn in a guy with the name Obama as its 44th President. With this momentous occasion, all the “-isms” that were born from racism, reparations, and white guilt are now dead and buried.

No longer can liberal, race-based organizations and the race hustlers blame white men and a racist government going forward for their plight and lack of economic opportunities in America.

The so-called label “I’m an African-American” is obsolete; you have officially become a full-blooded, card-carrying American. The attitude that “I don’t belong to America,” or “I’m not proud to be an American,” is now laughable. That old tired mantra, “The white man has his foot on my neck, I’m still overburdened from the effects of slavery” has finally been laid to rest. Well, the boogeyman exists no longer, and you must now rise and fall on your own merit, choices made, work ethics, discipline, sacrifices and thrift in this land of opportunity.

President Obama’s historic election has caused a massive cry of promise and true opportunity not only from Americans but from the world. World leaders are watching as Obama pledges to “remake America.” He stated, “The world has changed, and we must change with it” and said more also is needed to be done in the Third World. After the inauguration, many children interviewed had such high expectations and now believe they can fulfill their dreams, including becoming president of the United States of America. People everywhere just seem excited, not only American blacks, but college professors, students, senior citizens and everyday workers from Wal-Mart to Warner Brothers. People were inspired by his presidential demeanor during his stirring inaugural address. His command of the English language, the carefulness with which he chose his Cabinet, all these things are bringing people the one thing that is necessary to survive a crisis: hope. Hope for change, hope for progress, and hope that when the dust settles there will be a better and more promising America.

Hope is wonderful, and a necessary ingredient for progress, but it is never enough. To achieve true progress, there is much work that is necessary, and it is not solely the job of the White House. If Americans can take this charge they have gotten from President Obama to edify themselves and encourage one another, we could see real progress.

If our young women can stop having babies out of wedlock, and respect themselves enough to wait until a man is willing to marry them to sleep with him, that would be progress. If our young men can decide for themselves that this is their country, and that they should respect it and themselves enough to get an education and do what they can to make this country and the world even better, that would be progress. If young people can stop the daily killings in the inner city, cease selling drugs and being tools of destruction in their homes and environment, that would be progress. If everyday people begin to care about the government and the political process, and started to take care of their communities like it’s their back yard, that would be progress. If Americans develop the mentality to do for themselves while appreciating services the government offers, rather than relying on the government for handouts, that would be progress.

Can one man do all of this? Of course not, but can we as a nation be inspired to take control of our own destinies and work to make a better world for ourselves and those around us? Absolutely! Not only can we, but we should.

Over time, we all know that the best way to make our country, state and communities better is to work constantly on the most difficult challenge that we all face daily. That, my fellow Americans, is consistently working on one’s self. When you really focus on your behavior, choices, and the things you do on a daily basis to improve your life and circumstances, we quickly realize that the world around us improves. By working on ourselves and encouraging those around us, we really can achieve extraordinary change; together, we can make the world a better place for everyone, and that is what this new era of President Obama signifies to all of us. As he said in his Inaugural address, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

Armstrong Williams’ column for The Washington Times appears Mondays.

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