Colleen SImard2/25/08 Winnipeg Free Press a11
I'VE got Obama fever.
The realization came while huddled in a frozen car, listening to
the radio about the Democratic primaries. I've never had more than a
passing interest in American politics.
It doesn't make sense. An aboriginal woman -- a Canadian --
cheering for Barack Obama. I can't vote for him; I don't even live
in his country. But it doesn't stop my smug grin when I heard he's
gradually gained ground on Senator Hillary Clinton.
Both are good candidates for the job, but my feminist side has
been trumped by my minority self; the possibility of a black man
becoming the next U.S. president holds far more opportunity for
I've got it bad, people.
Because of Obama, I've listened to experts debate the pros and
cons of the young Illinois senator, compared to Clinton's more
defined experience. I read the New York Times more often. I've
watched Obama speeches and videos on YouTube and been to his
Maybe it's because I can relate to him better. Being culturally
mixed -- half white and half black -- Obama confessed to
struggling with racism in school, experimenting with drugs
and having difficulties finding his identity.
He may even have Native American roots thanks to his Kansas-born
Some commentators have said Obama's popularity is because he's
like a blank slate -- on which we can push our own ideals, beliefs
and characteristics. Blank? I think not. How can a man be a blank
slate, yet have enough life experience to write a best-selling
memoir at the tender age of 34.
Sure, detractors have said he's not experienced, but give him
time. Obama is all about possibilities. He holds a promise of
greatness ahead of him. Nobody can deny that.
Some have compared Obama to the holy grail of past U.S.
presidents -- John F. Kennedy. He's the Camelot president I've only
known through history books, stirring speeches and grainy news
clips. It must have been a heady time. Could Obama be our
generation's JFK? Only time will tell.
Obama is the seed that can spark change in how high up the rung
we minorities can climb, not just in politics, but life in general.
We can talk the talk, but now we can walk the walk, too. Equality
A black president means the U.S. is run from a viewpoint that's
undeniably compassionate to the needs of all. Minorities can truly
stand on equal ground with a majority that's been in power since the
country was founded.
And Obama carries not just the hope of his people -- or the hope
to heal the mighty American nation that's faltered and become
divided in the last few years. Obama carries a hope for minorities
everywhere -- our people included.
In a way, when I cheer for Obama I'm cheering for my people's
If a black president is possible, then it is also possible for an
aboriginal girl and boy to grow up strong and become prime minister
of Canada. Imagine that is within reach.
What a day it will be.