I am sure we all have stories of struggle. It's been said that if a man controls your mind, he controls you. I am not the type that blames others for my faults. However, if a person's dreams and hopes are deferred by limited exposure -- who's to blame? Maybe no one, because in doing so, we look back and not forward. When I think about the dreams of my grandfather, seven generation past, I know he looked forward to a day in which he would no longer be a slave, that day came. In 1861 he was released from slavery and joined the 108th Colored Infantry, made up of former slaves from Kentucky. While a slave he was responsible for the care of the farm animals. He was in essence an animal doctor. Skills in hand, he headed North. He was stationed at Fort Armstrong, later renamed Arsenal Island, a picturesque 3-mile strip of land in the Mississippi River. After his stint in the Civil War, he settled into a white community on the banks of Mississippi River in northern Illinois.
Generations later, my Great-Grandmother's dream was to simply go to school. She never had that opportunity. She raised 10 children while working beside my grandfather as share-croppers. One of my mother's dreams was to go to high school and graduate, she did that.
I was talking to my daughter this morning and we conversed about my grandson. Her voice made me stop and think of a dream my wife shared with me. See, my daughter was not planned. My wife became pregnant while we were in high school. There was talk of abortion and adoption. We married and struggled as young parents, yet, we shared dreams and passed them along to our children.
My daughter went back to Kentucky, not as a slave, nor to find her roots but as a student at the University Of Kentucky. My wife passed away 6 months before the birth of our grandchild. While talking to my daughter she told me that my grandson, who is 6 yrs old, said that he and Obama were just alike. My daughter said, yes, you are both black. He declared, NO MOMMY! We are both presidents. His school held class elections to familiarize students with the voting process; he was voted president of his 1st grade class. Ignoring the comparison that most adults would make, my grandson focused on something greater than race. He was proud of the fact that he won the presidency. He knew the job of president was important, yet too young to understand the significance of skin color in the past election. It wasn't important to him that they shared a color. He was proud of the fact that he was good enough to be president. Maybe one day a person's skin color will cease being a big deal. My grandfather didn't look back, he didn't have a desire to go back there. I have a grandson - his name is Carey -- he's the President.
Why did Obama win? Because he was the best man for the job!