EDITORIALS

This is a change Obama should embrace, and soon

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

On election day, Teawana Eppinger-Williams, an African-American woman, emerged from the gym of St. Bernard’s School — home to Precinct 32 & 33 — with a smile on her face.

“I believe history has been made,” she said, proudly announcing she had just cast her vote for an African-American presidential candidate.

Eppinger-Williams said changing the reality of African-American voting patterns here and across the U.S. would require overcoming some racial hurdles.

“The election process is run by white people. Black people are not too trusting of white people,” she said.

“We’ll have to overcome that. We need to build trust on both sides. It’s going to take trust.”

Later that night, President-elect Barack Obama said in his acceptance speech from Chicago,

“What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek — it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.”

Those statements by Eppinger-Williams and Obama take on greater relevance after Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently appointed Roland Burris, former Illinois attorney general and comptroller and an African-American, to fill Obama’s vacant senate seat.

Blagojevich could be the poster boy for why Eppinger-Williams said African-Americans do not trust whites.

It is obvious the governor wanted the race card in play when he selected Burris as his choice to fill the vacant seat in the senate left by Obama.

We find no fault with U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago), saying, “Let me just remind you that there is presently no African-American in the Senate.” But, he could not let it lie there.

Rush, a former Black Panther, is just the type of person we need lecturing us about race.

“I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer. Roland Burris is worthy,” Rush said.

The words “hang” and “lynch” are strong race card code words.

Rush continued: “And I don’t think any senators want to go on the record to deny an African-American from taking a seat in the U.S. Senate.”

Burris followed with, “I’m not in any way seeking to play the race card in this situation. Under no circumstances.”

By saying he was not in any way playing the race card, Burris, himself, injected race into the equation.

On. Aug. 6, 2008, the Christian Science Monitor published an opinion piece titled, “Could Obama’s rise signal the end of black victimology?”

As of today, the answer to that is, not yet, judging from what is happening.

If Obama wants to create change in race relations, he is going to have to start in his own backyard with his own party.

If Obama wants to foster change, he must firmly address the fact that change does not come from embracing the horrors of the past and exploiting them for political purposes.