I find myself nervous for the first time in my life about politics. Why? Because things feels more personal. Frankly, I'm of an age now that I really understand, very deeply, how the political system affects my life, my parents' lives and the lives of my children. Who represents you in government makes a very big difference locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The policies enacted will be in place for a while and affect me personally with regards to my children's education, my health care and insurance, my mortgage, my tax rates, my retirement, my job and entrepreneurial prospects. I have followed this election cycle really closely because, not only is it funny as hell, and better than any soap opera written, but there are real issues that are going to be changed as a result of who is in office at the highest level.
But, most importantly, and I don't kid myself: I'm really concerned about the brother Obama. To put it mildly, black people are concerned that he doesn't f*ck up because it makes us all look bad. We as black people root for all people that look like us, sometimes whether we believe in them or not, because for a very long time, and still somewhat today, if ANY BLACK PERSON MAKES A MISTAKE, WE ALL LOOK BAD! How many times have you been at work and when some black person robs or steals something and it's in the news, you just cringe when others bring it up. How many times have you been the only black person in the room and when you're having a discussion about OJ or Henry Louis Gates, or Rev Al Sharpton, or just Jamal or Ebony on the corner, you are the one who gets asked for the "black" response? We, individually, have always been representatives of an entire race. And personally, I'm nervous because if Obama looses…it makes us look bad. When will another african-american (or minority) get another opportunity at the Presidency if Obama is seen as a failure??
Now, in this era of "Post Blackness", as the commentator Toure likes to call it, we're not supposed to have to feel this way, but I'm sorry…I'm nervous. I like Obama. I like his family. I also lean towards his policies, and I hope I'm not overly beholden to him and his platform. But the presidential election is very personal to me, I unexpectedly find. As the president gets ready for his last state of the Union Speech of his first term in office, I am frankly nervous like I'm getting ready to go on stage and sing. How will he do? What will he say? How will he defend himself against the "liar!" calls and what can he say since this year, legislatively speaking, there was not a lot done? I am very connected to this outcome in a way that I have never been before, and one of the major reasons is because a black man is up there on the podium. I remember the feeling when I was in NYC and Marion Barry got busted for cocaine, went to jail, and later was re-elected to the Mayoral position. Almost daily, people said to me,"What's up with your mayor dude? Why is/was he smokin' crack? and why is he mayor today?" I felt I had to speak up for not only the man, but black people and my home city of Washington, DC.
This is strange because I didn't expect to feel this way. I thought that we were over this kind of racial identification to a certain extent. I am astonished and fascinated by my own responses.
Well, the man better have a decent speech and actually follow through on what he proposes, cause if not I just don't wanna hear about it afterwards...