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mlk & barack obama The Completion of a Dream

mlk
&
barack
obama

The Completion of a Dream

alt

Pointing
an accusatory finger and armed with heated eloquence, Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. once charged America for defaulting on the promissory note for
complete equality and inclusiveness for all Americans. Now, with the
election of Barack Hussein Obama to the highest office in the land, has
America satisfied her debt to her most loyal and mistreated citizens?

“Barack
Obama is to a degree, the check that America finally cashed, to use a
metaphor of Dr. King,” says Dr. F.S.J. Ledgister, an assistant
professor of political science at Clark Atlanta University. “He’s one
part of that check. For a large number of black Americans, however,
that check has yet to be cashed. That’s another part of the story. But
at this point, you can no longer say, ‘if you’re black, America doesn’t
mean anything.’ ”

As the nation’s citizens descend on the epicenter of world power, the
U.S. Capitol, for the installation of the 44th president of the United
States — the first African American to ever hold that office — pundits
can barely believe that a political neophyte became president without
finishing his term as a freshman senator. It took an unparalleled
political force of nature to gather up the type of groundswell of
support that catapulted the Ivy-League educated lawyer from the South
Side of Chicago to Pennsylvania Avenue. With a political savvy rarely
seen before — if ever, Obama made his name into a ubiquitous brand
label that was the envy of Fortune 500 companies. He was named Brand of
the Year by Advertising Age magazine, and was named Man of the Year by Time magazine.
Obama was the unique figure who could conjure up the dormant hopes of
millions of voters who have given up the dream of a better America.
However, the electorate is still filled with trepidation — if not
outright fear — about what exactly Obama can do for a weary nation
battered by the worst economic crisis in 70 years.

alt“You
are going to see close to four million people ask … all at one time —
‘Who is this guy? What’s he going to do?’— so there is going to be
heavy anticipation,” says Dr. Johnny L. Wilson, assistant professor of
political science at Clark Atlanta University. “There are more people
who are relying on his election because they are sick and tired of the
previous occupant. ‘Well, eenie-meenie-miney-mo, I’m going to this guy.
This guy is going to save my retirement money, or this guy has promised
me mortgage protection, or this guy promised me new powers and new
procedures.’ So there’s like a hope.”

Look at the word ‘techno-politics,’ advises Wilson. “Obama was able to
succeed by using the iPod, [and] the Web system to expand mass
communication. We have to come to grips with the fact that technology
won this race and it far exceeded [all previous expectations]. It not
only raised the revenue, it told people a story. And once you became
familiar with the story you can put anyone in the scene, whether it was
his wife, whether it was him.” terry shropshire

The Making of An American President

Barack Obama faces heavy challenges as he enters
office as the 44th president of the U.S. But while he has a myriad of
trials to overcome, he is not the first president to face such tasks.
After his successful 2008 campaign, and first few months transitioning
into office, Obama has shown characteristics that positively compare to
some of the country’s greatest leaders. Here are three presidential
characteristics that Obama displays, and three leaders whose ability to
guide the country through conflict may serve as a guide for the road
that the president-elect is about to tread.todd williams

JOHN F. KENNEDY
A Renewed Sense of Optimism:
When the Cold War was at its height, JFK was a charismatic, confident
and shrewd leader who became the personification of the hope and
optimism of the post-war generation. Kennedy instilled a sense of pride
in the average American and seemed to beckon a future teeming with
potential. Much like JFK provided the spark for the baby boomers that
would define the decade by wrestling control away from their
Depression-era parents; Obama’s election was seen as a watershed moment
for Generations X and Y. He has become the symbol of that generation’s
desire to write its own history and chart its own course. Similar to
John (and later, Robert) Obama dominated the youth vote in his
successful presidential run of 2008.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN
National Solidarity:
In the wake of high-profile, racially charged police shootings,
controversial rulings on gay marriage and an ever-widening gap between
rich and poor, Obama must show a steadfast dedication to strengthening
the ties across this nation and healing the fractured spirit left in
the wake of the Bush administration. Despite whatever his personal
feelings on race may have been, Abraham Lincoln’s unflinching
commitment to maintaining the union in the face of secession and Civil
War, helped to fortify the United States. Obama’s election is the
result of his ability to touch a wide swath of Americans. He must
channel that appeal and use it to build bridges of communication and a
sense of community. Obama’s rise from outside of the typical political
sphere and his reputation as more of an up-from-his-bootstraps success
story is very similar to Lincoln, who was seen as a political outsider
prior to his successful presidential bid.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSVEVELT
Crisis Management:
Like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Obama faces the twin challenges of tough
economic times and mounting international conflict. Roosevelt’s New
Deal helped salvage America’s economy and he helped guide the country
through World War II. However, in FDR’s day it was considered a radical
idea for the U.S. government to step into the economic fray and provide
hopeful and far-reaching solutions. But, it should also be noted that
the unemployment rate during the Great Depression was approximately 25
percent, as compared to a current 6 percent unemployment rate as of
November 2008. But like FDR, the president-elect has also proposed
public works programs to help repair the nation’s crumbling
infrastructure and create jobs.

Is Obama the Guy Next Door?

He was raised partly by his maternal
grandmother, has a fondness for chicken wings and can sink a jumper
from 25-feet on the basketball court. He even made an appearance on MTV
to chop it up with Sway and knows rappers by name. In more ways than
one, President-elect Barack Obama is a lot like the guy who sits in the
cubicle next to you at work.

“We call that
‘staging’ when you humanize the office of the presidency so people will
feel like you belong there,” explains Dr. Johnny L. Wilson, assistant
professor of political science at Clark Atlanta University. “With
staging, you won’t see them as being elite, so the leader will seem
just like the people — like you don’t have to set an appointment to see
this person or that he is your next-door neighbor.”

That is, if your next-door neighbor is biracial with parents from
different parts of the world, whose mother earned a Ph.D. in
anthropology and whose father was a senior official in a foreign
government. According to Clark Atlanta University politi

cal
science assistant professor Dr. Fragano Ledgister, Obama’s multiracial
background is closer to the so-called average American than portrayed
in the media via squeaky-clean sitcoms like “Leave It to Beaver.”

“My reality is [that] somebody born in the United Kingdom to parents
from different parts of the world … is much more like Obama than a
typical American,” says Ledgister. “So for me, Obama would be more like
the guy next door than his mother in Kansas … or someone who grew up in
1950. But he is the guy next door to somebody who’s growing up today,
because increasingly in America this is a country that is multicultural
and multiethnic.

“Part of what’s happening is that the old norms are breaking down,” he
continues. “Sure, you can say Obama is the guy next door in a
multicultural, multiracial country where the guy next door could be
anybody.” –c.w.

top 10 obama quotes

President
Barack Obama is one of the greatest orators this country has seen in
decades. Poignant, straightforward and stirring, his words have touched
the hearts and minds of people across the world. Sometimes funny, often
inspiring, we’ve pulled our 10 favorite Obama quotes ever. j.h.

1.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other
time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we
seek.”
2. “Nothing
worthwhile in this country has ever happened unless somebody, somewhere
stood up when it was hard, stood up when they were told no you can’t,
and said yes we can.” 
3. “Focusing
your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition.
It asks too little of yourself. Because it’s only when you hitch your
wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true
potential.”
4. “There
is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the
United States of America. There is not a black America and a white
America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United
States of America.”
5. “I’m so overexposed, I’m making Paris Hilton look like a recluse.”
6. “My
parents shared not only an improbable love, they shared an abiding
faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an
African name, Barack, or ‘blessed,’ believing that in a tolerant
America your name is no barrier to success.”
7. “What Washington needs is adult supervision.”
8. “If
the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it
exists — to protect them and to promote their common welfare — all else
is lost.”
9. “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”
10. “It
took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but
we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure
that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than
the one we inhabit today.”
peek into the past
Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a national holiday,
1986
Became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize,
1964
Received doctorate of philosophy,
June 5, 1955
Morehouse College,

1948 Graduate
Jan. 15, 1929
Born

Born
Aug. 4, 1961
Graduate Columbia University,
1983
Taught constitutional law,
University of Chicago Law School,
1997-2004
Served as United States senator,
Jan. 3, 2005–Nov. 16, 2008
Takes oath of office,
Jan. 20, 2009