I was born in 1930 at a time when people of my background–east European Jews–inhabited a world characterized by bigotry and prejudice. It was still an era when Irish people were familiar with the famous song, “No Irish Need Apply” and Italians were looked down upon. As a Jew, I could not live in many parts of America due to segregation, I could not obtain certain jobs, and I faced quotas in colleges which made clear only a few of us were welcome. The victory of Barack Obama today is of tremendous importance to all African Americans, but it also symbolizes for those of us who lived in an America which denied equal rights, that the world we knew no longer was. A “President” Obama means for the first time in American history, the old world of bigotry and prejudice is symbolically over.
A victory for Barack Obama means the forces of ignorance and hate are silenced. Imagine having a vice president who believes planet Earth is only 10,000 years old!! Imagine having a vice president who is against the right of women to control their bodies and who regards reading books to be something that “real Americans” simply do not do. Imagine having a vice president who believes there are “real Americans” and there are “the others.” Imagine having a president who is against an intelligent form of national health insurance or the right of workers to organize unions or equity in the workplace for women! Imagine a president who has sold his soul to the forces of right wing bigotry and ignorance!
Barack Obama means Americans can once again hold their heads high because this nation represents something unique in the world, a nation in which, literally, any person can become president. A Barack Obama led nation will forge peace in the Middle East beginning with ending the insanity of the Iraq war. He will reach out to Iran to initiate discussions which are necessary if that nation is to be brought into a new position of leadership for peace in the Middle East. Barack Obama will close infamous Guantanamo prison and restore our nation’s dignity by respecting the rights of people to due process. He will ensure torture is no longer associated with America and our Constitution truly follows the flag.
Barack Obama has inspired the youth of this nation to assume leadership in the fight to create a new society based on the principles of equity for all. His proposal for National Service in exchange for college tuition is revolutionary. I received the G.I. Bill of Rights which revolutionized higher education in America, a National Service Bill will do the same for modern America. He will ensure that ALL Americans have health insurance, he will fight to expand early childhood facilities and create new industries so that eventually we can end dependence on fossil fuels.
A Barack Obama victory represents the birth of a new America. So, get out there and vote, vote, vote today if you care about this nation.