Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obama is Tired

Obama is tired. He's been campaigning for 18 months, sleeping in hotels, living in airports, and he misses his home. He has a healthy ambition and the ego to match, but Obama does not "live for campaigning." He does not need the adulation of the crowd to affirm his identity.

People talk about Sarah Palin and about how the election will take her away from her family. Well, she's not my candidate and I don't care about her.

But I do care about Barack and Michelle, and they need some time. Barack suffered from the absence of his father, and he will not let that happen to his two precious girls. Barack, should he be elected, will have the two most important jobs in the world, being President of the United States and being a father. The Obamas will have a more normal life when they move into the White House. It's like living above the store, and Barack can go home for lunch. But right now, it's pretty rough and he's getting tired.

Barack Obama also carries a load, call it the black man's burden. It's like running a race with a 25-pound pack on his back. Conservatives believe in the inherent sinfulness of mankind, and that we will always be tempted by selfishness, dishonesty, lust, and cruelty. But then those same conservatives cheerfully claim that we have banished racial bigotry from our shores. They say "it's not about race."

Yes, race relations have improved, but it's not hard to find a story. My friend, an older black man, past 70, was discharged from the army in 1957 after two bitter, cold winters in Korea. He went looking for a job, but they told him, "Sure, you're qualified, but we don't hire colored people in that position." To his face. That was fifty years ago, but he still remembers.

And in the present, another friend, a black woman my age with a good income and a nice house. And yet, with her remarkable intelligence and energy, she could have been so much more -- the Governor of Washington, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company -- if she had been white. I know her -- that's how good she could have been.

Or a young black woman I saw, looking into a mirror while she applied a skin bleaching cream, giving into a hopeless desire not to wear that face every day, wanting to disappear from who she really is.

That's the burden, and Obama is getting tired.

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