Barack Obama: The Content of His Character

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On August 28, 1963, in Washington, DC, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. uttered these now famous words:  “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  I remember growing up with segregation and then being a part of desegregation.  I also remember listening to Dr. King’s words.  I believe that while many people judged Barack Obama by “the color of [his]skin,” there were many more that judged him by “the content of [his]character.”  I would like to take a moment to look at that character and what I have learned from reading biographies about him and from his own words.

I learned that Barack Obama did not have an ideal childhood … like so many of us.  I learned that in his youth he was rebellious at times … like so many of us.  I learned that he did party some in his youth … like so many of us.  I learned that he went through an identity crisis, searching for who he really was and where he fit in the grand scheme of things … like so many of us.

I learned that Obama decided to rise above any difficulties associated with his youth and strive to be a better citizen and human being.  I learned that he chose to forego a lucrative paying job for one paying only $13,000 per year so he could better help his fellow citizens.  I learned that he, who had experienced life with an absentee father, chose to commit himself to being a good husband and to being a good father to his own children.  I learned that he is a student of history and that, as such, he believes that we must learn from history so as not to make the same mistakes.  I learned that he truly believes in the UNITED States of America and that he represents all of us — no matter the color of our skin, our religious beliefs, our economic status, our ethnicity, or our political affiliations.  I learned that he is open to opposing opinions and encourages a free exchange of ideas — even ideas from those with whom he may not agree — so that a better solution to a given problem may be realized.  I learned that he is a man of high moral principle and capable of admitting his own faults while forgiving the faults of others.  I learned that he is highly intelligent and very introspective and uses both of these qualities to arrive at thoughtful and rational decisions.  I learned that he really is an idealist, believing in the lofty ideals upon which this country was built.  I learned that he is also a pragmatist, willing to follow a practical and reasonable course to achieve these ideals.

On this day of celebration and remembrance, I shall heed Dr. King’s words and judge Barack Obama by the content of his character.  It is my humble judgment that the country is in good hands.

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