America Has Historic Opportunity To Emancipate Itself From Its Racist Past


By Appo Jabarian, Executive Publisher & Managing Editor of USA Armenian Life Magazine, October 24, 2008


The U.S. presidential election is historic in many ways. One of the most meaningful accomplishments of American democracy is the emergence of a very viable minority candidate in the person of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).


By Appo Jabarian, Executive Publisher & Managing Editor of USA Armenian Life Magazine, October 24, 2008


The U.S. presidential election is historic in many ways. One of the most meaningful accomplishments of American democracy is the emergence of a very viable minority candidate in the person of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).

Just like the saying goes "anything is possible in America."


Despite its many hardships, America continues to be the land of opportunity.


According to several news sources, the mayor of London, member of a British political party that is a traditional ally of U.S. Republicans, says Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama "visibly incarnates change and hope, at a time when America desperately needs both."


In an article for Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Telegraph newspaper, London Mayor Boris Johnson of the center-right Conservative Party was blunt in his assessment of President Bush’s legacy and how an Obama presidency would break from it.


The Mayor of London is not the only conservative backing Obama. Several American conservatives, known as Obama Republicans, have joined the ranks of millions of Democrats and Independents actively supporting a minority candidate that has all the qualities that would make him one of the best American presidents of our time.


As Mayor Johnson wrote, "If Obama wins, he will have established that being black is as relevant to your ability to do a hard job as being left-handed or ginger-haired, and he will have re-established America’s claim to be the last, best hope of Earth."


Here is a partial list of Obama’s notable Republican Supporters:


Former Secretary of State Colin Powell


Former Secretary of State Colin Powell recently endorsed Sen. Obama, criticizing his own Republican Party for what he called its narrow focus on irrelevant personal attacks over a serious approach to challenges he called unprecedented.


Powell told NBC’s Tom Brokaw that he was "troubled" by Republicans’ personal attacks on Obama, especially false intimations that Obama was Muslim and the recent focus on Obama’s alleged connections to William Ayers, a co-founder of the radical ’60 Weather Underground.


Stressing that Obama was a lifelong Christian, Powell denounced Republican tactics that he said were insulting not only to Obama but also to Muslims.


"The really right answer is what if he is?" Powell said, praising the contributions of millions of Muslim citizens to American society.


Powell continued: "This is the time for outreach … (to) talk to people we haven’t talked to," a reference to Obama’s controversial statement that he would be open to direct diplomacy with Iranian leaders. "I think that [Obama] has a definite way of doing business that will serve us well. … I truly believe that at this point in America’s history we need a president who will not just continue … basically the policies we have followed in recent years," he said. "We need a president with transformational qualities."


Powell concluded: "It troubled me. We have two wars. We have economic problems. We have health problems. We have education problems. We have infrastructure problems. We have problems around the world with our allies. So those are the problems the American people wanted to hear about, not about Mr. Ayers, not about who’s a Muslim or who’s not a Muslim. Those kinds of images going out on Al-Jazeera are killing us around the world. And we have got to say to the world, it doesn’t make any difference who you are or what you are, if you’re an American, you’re an American. And this business, for example, of the congressman from Minnesota who’s going around saying, ‘Let’s examine all congressmen to see who is pro-America or not pro-America’ — we have got to stop this kind of nonsense, pull ourselves together and remember that our great strength is in our unity and in our diversity."


Conservative Radio Host Michael Smerconish


Smerconish said: "My conclusion comes after reading the candidates’ memoirs and campaign platforms, attending both party conventions, interviewing both men multiple times, and watching all primary and general election debates. … John McCain is an honorable man who has served his country well. But he will not get my vote. For the first time since registering as a Republican 28 years ago, I’m voting for a Democrat for president. … I may have been an appointee in the George H.W. Bush administration, and master of ceremonies for George W. Bush in 2004, but last Saturday I stood amidst the crowd at an Obama event in North Philadelphia. … No one in Iraq caused the death of 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Our invasion was based on a false predicate, so we have no business being there, regardless of whether the surge is working."


Influential conservative intellectuals Peter Wehner, William Bennett, Rich Lowry of National Review and Peggy Noonan 


Peter Wehner, a former deputy assistant to President Bush, wrote in the Washington Post last February: "Barack Obama is not only popular among Democrats, he’s also an appealing figure to many Republicans. Former GOP House member Joe Scarborough, now a host on MSNBC, reports that after every important Obama speech, he is inundated with e-mails praising the speech — with most of them coming from Republicans. William Bennett, an influential conservative intellectual, has said favorable things about Obama. So have Rich Lowry of National Review and Peggy Noonan. And so have I." Wehner added: "A number of prominent Republicans I know … like Obama and would find it hard to generate much enthusiasm in opposing him. What is at the core of Obama’s appeal? He has an unsurpassed ability to (seemingly) transcend politics. …Obama’s GOP appeal is that (he) has a message that, at its core, is about unity and hope rather than division and resentment. He stresses that ‘out of many we are one.’ And to his credit,


Obama is running a color-blind campaign. … Obama, more than any figure in America, can help bind up the racial wounds of America…. Obama is among the most impressive political talents of our lifetime." 


Republican Commentator Christopher Buckley, the son of modern conservatism’s patron saint, the late William F. Buckley


Joining the steady drumbeat of Republicans giving up on John McCain is Christopher Buckley. In his endorsement of Obama, he said: "Having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. … Obama has in him … the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for. … So, I wish him all the best. We are all in this together. Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship. And so, for the first time in my life, I’ll be pulling the Democratic lever in November. As the saying goes, God save the United States of America." 


In an October 20 article titled "Attacks on Obama have many roots," David Lightman of McClatchy Newspapers wrote: "An ugly line has been crossed in this presidential campaign, one in which some people don’t mind calling Barack Obama a dangerous Muslim, a terrorist and worse."


Lightman reported: "The venom endures largely because not only is the Illinois senator the first African-American who’s ever come this close to the presidency, but his background — biracial, lived in Indonesia for a time, grew up in Hawaii, has the middle name Hussein — also isn’t the stuff of past presidential resumes. That rouses suspicion among some voters, said Pier, an associate professor of communication arts at Iowa’s Wartburg College, because ‘People are still reeling from the 9-11 attacks, and some still have a tendency to see Muslims with fear.’ In addition, Pier said, many older voters grew up when racial segregation was still legal, haven’t necessarily accepted blacks in positions of power and are afraid of having a black president. ‘Everything these people have stood for is sort of being questioned and to some degree eliminated by Obama,’ said David Bositis, a senior research associate at Washington’s Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which studies African-American voting trends."


Will America continue to be the bastion of transformation? Will the American electorate completely break from its racist past?


On Nov. 4, the answers to these and many other related questions will ring in.



I am a firm believer that America will make the highest and best use of this historic opportunity to emancipate itself from its racist past, by not letting the narrow and misguided racist alarms affect the outcome of this ground-breaking presidential election.

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