On January 3, after Senator Obama’s unlikely win over Hillary Clinton in the Iowa primary, I watched, with the rest of the country, as he spoke to his Iowan supporters. What I heard was a soaring speech, that appealed to all of us as Americans to come together and be one people again. His speech was so moving, that it literally brought tears to my eyes. “You came together as Democrats, Republicans and independents to stand up and say that we are one nation, we are one people and our time for change has come.”Now keep in mind that I am so conservative, I make Nancy Pelosi look like Rush Limbaugh, and even I was moved by his rhetoric and his powerful delivery.
A RISING STAR
I quickly texted several friends and family members, saying, “This kid from Chicago is for real – he could really win this whole thing!”
Then on February 22nd, I stood in the hot sun on the campus of the University of Texas Pan American and got my first look at Senator Barack Obama. He was the most skillful politician in person that I had seen since observing President George W. Bush in McAllen in the late 90’s. I later wrote down all my thoughts with pictures and video clips in a blog post, and the last thing I said was that Barack Obama would be the next president of the United States.
One week later, I heard him again, at a small gathering for pastors in Brownsville, Texas. After his talk, I shook his hand and thanked him for thinking of us in South Texas. I subsequently wrote another blog post about that encounter, including pictures and video, and remember mentioning to my companions during the drive back to McAllen that I believed that we had just seen the next president of the United States.
In the weeks and months that followed, I watched the campaign with great interest. Against great odds, Senator Obama defeated the Clinton machine and won the democratic nomination. Then he began his truncated race against Senator McCain, and defeated him just days ago.
SO YOU VOTED FOR HIM, RIGHT?
No. As I said earlier, I am a conservative Christian, and Senator Obama’s radical position on abortion was a deal-breaker for me. On many other issues, I differ with the Senator as well (taxes, Iraq, judges, etc.), but, for me, his failure to even oppose partial-birth abortion or favor parental notification was too much for me to swallow. Even though I’m no huge fan of Senator McCain, my conscience would not allow me to cast a vote for abortion. For other Christians, this was not a big factor, but each person has to answer to God for their vote, and I simply could not justify that vote.
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
Does this mean that I do not still admire President-Elect Obama and some of what he stands for? Of course not. He ran a great campaign, worked tirelessly, and earned every vote he got. I’m glad he took the time to meet, over and over, with pastors, and I believe that he genuinely loves America and wants her to succeed.
I am also genuinely happy for the African-American community. This is a BIG DEAL for them, and I was moved to tears at their celebrations and joy on election night. Just think, only 150 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that no person of African descent could ever be a full citizen of the United States! And just 50 years ago, my dad remembers seeing separate water fountains and bathrooms for Blacks. And now we have just elected an African-American President of the United States of America. This is such a significant moment that it is almost impossible to fully absorb. This is worth celebrating and appreciating as Americans.
HAIL TO THE CHIEF
I will also continue to disagree with his policies when I believe that they are bad for the country, but I will always do so in a manner that respects and honors his office.
In my view, anyone who does not recognize Barack Obama as America’s President, and who does not wish him success as our leader and offer prayers on his behalf, is un-American.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Finally, I believe that the President of the United States has much less influence over the lives of individual Americans than we think. Each of us should continue to focus on the Kingdom of God, our families and our jobs. Let’s remind ourselves that we, ourselves, are most responsible for our successes and failures, and that there is only one King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He is not elected every four years.
May God bless my President-Elect, Barack Obama, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.