By Gabriel Buelna
While I do not believe that presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama really knows who his vice-presidential nominee will be, if ever there was a time to give an opinion on the matter, it is now. Who knows, someone may actually be listening.
The choice for President of the United States is perhaps one of the most important choices that will affect each American in recent years. From health care, national security, spending on roads, mass transit and negotiating for peace throughout the world, most Americans generally believe in the same goals. It’s the specifics we get caught up in.
As Americans, we know this too well from the 2000 election, determining the direction of the War on Terror and Iraq, to a non-existent energy policy that continues to affect our pockets each day. Presidents matter! This is why the 2008 election will determine the type of fuel we use in our cars, the types of jobs available to us and our children and the next war we fight. For those that disagree with the current administration, electing Senator Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States is the strongest protest to the policies of the current administration.
For many of us that supported Senator Hillary Clinton, supporting Senator Obama is easy. For others, however, supporting Obama is not so easy. Senator Obama faces the obstacles of his youth and the unspoken, de facto racism that may not show up in the polls. This is similar to the obstacle of sexism that Senator Clinton faced when she was a candidate. Some people wouldn’t vote for her because she is a woman as some will not vote for Senator Obama because he is African American. As sad as this reality is and writing these words makes me, this reality exists.
While Senator Obama has some good choices for running mates, he needs a candidate that does not need explaining. He needs a candidate that will motivate women to overwhelmingly come to the polls. The Democratic Party needs to seize the once in a lifetime opportunity to put forward two historical candidates to win a once in a lifetime election.
Without Senator Clinton on the ticket, Senator Obama wants us to believe his wit, charm and qualifications are enough to win. Essentially tied at the polls with both political party conventions still to occur, Senator Obama has the responsibility to the next generation not to take any risks which could cost him the election. To lose without Senator Clinton would mean eternal “what ifs” for the young Senator. What ifs are bad news for such an inspiring candidate. Yes, he will have to put up with Bill Clinton. So what? Be a hero to us all and buy President Clinton a round of golf and get on with your historical responsibility of being the first African American President who had the courage of telling every little girl watching television, including my own three, that “Yes you can.”
Gabriel Buelna, Ph.D., MSW is Executive Director of Plaza Community Services in East Los Angeles, a faculty member in the Chicana/o Studies Department at Cal State Northridge and co-founder of The Nonprofit Network You can visit his blog at http://gabrielbuelna.blogspot.com/
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