Thursday, November 6, 2008


Most of us had a candidate in mind when we went to the polls on Tuesday. Only one could win. And if Obama was your choice there is no need to bash Senator McCain and Governor Palin. You can compliment his fine concession speech. They ran the race they did and it is over. We have a new president and one way to respect him is to respect everyone's vote whether you like it or not.

If someone says, "So, your guy won." There is no need to reply, "And yours lost." Just say, "He did and now it's time for all of us to get to work." You can let them know how you can understand their disappointment and tell them while you didn't agree, you respected their opinion. (Try not to grimace when you say this.)

We cannot deny the race piece in all of this. But, we don't have to make it a racial issue. President Obama will be everyone's president. It's going to take time for this to sink in and not everyone got the message, yet. Not every taxi driver is going to suddenly stop for all Americans regardless of skin color. Not every employer is going to say, "I think I'll hire that person, he or she looks like they're related to Obama. At your next cocktail party, no need recap the history of slavery and end on an anecdote about something bad that happened to you today. Talk about the good in all of this.

There's going to be a period of adjustment for all of us. Some whites will be inclined to say to blacks, "Aren't you happy?" assuming that all blacks are Democrats and definitely were Obama supporters for obvious reasons. You can reply with a question, "You mean about the election? I think it's great, you?" Or you can make a statement. "Yes, I am. We have a great country." These may not be the words you want to use but the attitude should be upbeat, cheerful and inclusive.

There will be blacks who will assume that whites are not happy about President-elect Obama. Let them tell you that. Be respectful, listen. There's no need to gloat or make a white person feel as though this historic election is about payback. It's not.

Let's enjoy this new day in America and keep it on its pedestal. We can be proud Americans and always gracious, like our president. Oh, yes we can.


Unknown said...

This is a very elegant and intelligent assessment of the way that the American presidential election has placed us in a deliciously new and uncharted world. Barack Obama is indeed every American's president, which makes me prouder than I've ever been in my life to carry a navy blue passport with a silver eagle stamped on it. Obama's victory was not only a Democratic win, but a win for civility and social elegance.

Anonymous said...

This was fantastic. Thank you. I live in Texas, where Barack Obama was not exactly the candidate of choice and where race really is a huge issue, especially as it relates to politics. In addition, I share a studio space with a card-carrying, conservative, Southern Baptist Republican, who was very clear from the start of the campaign about her perception of Barack Obama's inability to lead this country. However, since his victory, she's mentioned nothing about it, and I haven't either. Instinctively, I chose not to address it because I didn't see the point in it, but was unsure how to respond if she broached the subject with me. Your suggestions are perfect. Thanks again.