Monday, January 7, 2008

Dare to Dream

Today at approximately 10:45am, my friend, Michael Nutter, became the 98th mayor of Philadelphia. I cannot tell you how proud and happy I am for Michael and his family. I’ve known Michael for over twenty years and he’s prepared himself for this day for most of his fifty years. Michael’s an intelligent, thoughtful, inclusive and progressive man and he will make Philadelphia a great place to live and work.

He has a huge task ahead of him as the city rides the unenviable wave of the most homicides of the nation’s 10 largest cities. Over 30,000 of Philadelphia’s public school students have dropped out of school in the last five years. The picture isn’t pretty, his constituency’s expectations are high, but I have no doubt Michael will rise to the occasion. For the first time, in a long time, this city is hopeful and we believe in him. In fact, he won the general election by getting over 85% of the vote.

Speaking of hope, tomorrow, Barack Obama is poised to follow his win in the Iowa caucus, with a win in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. My hope for Obama is a bit more tempered than it is for Michael, not because I don’t believe in him or his message, it’s because I’ve been socialized to believe the United States isn’t ready for a Black president. As I approach middle age, my personal experience and our nation’s history has me feeling quite anxious for Barack’s safety, instead of allowing myself to simply let go and embrace his “time for change.” I’m waiting for some fool to step out of the shadows and try to take this dynamic Black man down. I’m haunted by fates of Malcolm and Martin.

What’s wrong with me? Why am I so cynical? The folks in Iowa obviously saw beyond Obama’s skin color and if they can, can't others? Could this really be the dawn of a new day, where I dare to dream of a nation where my children will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin?

Time will tell, and in the meantime, I will be prayerful as these two brothers navigate the challenges ahead.


Melissa said...

Congratulations to your friend Michael.

And I, personally, feel it's time for a change. I was delighted with the outcome in Iowa. I know plenty of folks who complain that Barack just doesn't have the chops yet to be pres, that he's too young, too green, too new to the political playing field. But I think these are all qualities that we can use right now. For the first time in a long time, I'm excited about the upcoming elections. I always think that change is a good thing.

jillybean said...

Congratulations to Michael Nutter. He has a lot to deal with, but Philadelphia needs a mayor who cares.

jillybean said...

By the way Mango Mama, thanks for including my blog in your favs list. I love reading yours and I've started reading some others from your list. The coolest thing is feeling a connection with others across the country and in cyberspace. Wouldn't it be great to all meet one day?