Lynn Abbott: Character question
October 19, 2008
We need a president with great strength of character. Barack Obama is such a man. Last week, John McCain and Sarah Palin questioned his character. They do so unwisely, as his character is the driving force behind his success. This is a man who grew up without luxury, without privilege and without a father. He learned the value of hard work early in life, along with the value of using his own strong intellect to solve problems. He learned that cooperation, gentle persuasion, compromise and diplomacy can achieve far greater results than combative belligerence. Integrity has been a hallmark of his life choices. As a young lawyer, he could have commanded a six-figure salary at a prestigious law firm but chose instead to work to improve the lives of people in Chicago’s down-trodden communities. He has championed justice and fair play during his life.
Barack Obama has the talent to inspire the rest of us. He has ignited a passion for peace and fairness across this land. He calls on us to consider the less fortunate and to care for each other. Even in these difficult economic times, we will find – with his leadership – ways to work for the common good. People who never have been politically active before are knocking on doors and spreading the word that they share his vision of a new day for America. This will not end with the election. I have confidence that we will continue to work together to make this vision a reality once he is president.
For some, race is an issue in this election. Racial bigotry is an emotion that defies rational persuasion. We know there still are remnants of racism, but times are changing. Most of us, especially our young people, take for granted the opportunity to work and study with every skin color under the sun. Obama deliberately has chosen to go into neighborhoods where racism may be a concern, and because of his straight-forward and honest approach, many people are coming around. For me, his election will be a symbol that we Americans are turning away from racism; that we affirm to the world that we truly can live and work together. And I will feel very proud.
For me, the strongest character trait in Barack Obama is his global vision. Having lived and traveled around the world, he sees the big picture. He knows the U.S. cannot “go it alone” ever again. With him at the helm, the days of shock-and-awe, pit-bull mentality will be over. Instead, we will see a deliberative, diplomatic approach to solving problems, not creating them. This world needs leaders who work together for the common good of the planet. Everything in Barack Obama’s history has prepared him for this moment. His faith, his love for America and his commitment to the global community will enable him to lead us all toward nuclear nonproliferation, toward peaceful solutions wherever possible and toward careful and deliberate military solutions when absolutely necessary. The leaders of many nations are eager to begin working with him toward this new day.
So the question of Barack Obama’s character is not a question – much as John McCain and Sarah Palin would like it to be. Hard work, intellect, integrity, leadership, care for the less fortunate and the ability to inspire – to me, these define character. Barack Obama has it.
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