I wanted to share my thoughts as the Obama campaign and movement transforms itself into a presidential administration. I think we here in the United States, along with many around the entire world, are rightfully still celebrating this moment of amazing symbolic importance: the election of an African American as president of a nation that was built on the contradiction between freedom and equality.
It must be solemnly noted that the White House was built by slaves whose descendents would not share the full rights of citizenship until 1965.
During the heat of Barack Obama’s?primary campaign battle with Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Obama was asked, “Who would Martin Luther King support? Would he support you or Senator Clinton?”
“He wouldn’t support either of us.” Obama responded. “He’d be out in the street building an independent social justice movement.” ?
What an amazing response. ?It reminds me of something Martin Luther King said in a speech?at Riverside Church in New York City in 1967. ? “The greatest purveyor of violence on this earth is my own country.”??
I have often wondered if this remains true some four decades later. Whatever your reaction and position is, as Barack Obama himself said on the evening of his historic election, “Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.”
It behooves all of us to continue the participatory and enthusiastic spirit we had in the months and days prior to casting our votes. Meaningful?change and real justice comes from below, that means, from all of us.
For my part, the greatest satisfaction in life is in the classroom, where I have assisted hundreds of community college students understand and participate in the seemingly complex and incomprehensible American political system for more than 12 years. ?
Over the course of the past year and the coming year, I will also continue conducting doctoral research that will lead to new findings regarding minority representation in the American states. What you can do is as varied as who each of you are. Happy Holidays.
Angela Romero is the Associate Professor of Political Science at San Diego Miramar College