Black Voters Are 2008’s People Of The Year
orthStar News, The Voice of Today’s Black Man, is honoring black voters as NorthStar’s first ever “2008 People of the Year” for their support of Sen. Barack Obama.
African-American voters cast ballots in record numbers in the Nov. 4th presidential election to help elect Obama the nation’s first black president and the country’s 44thpresident.
By voting in large numbers in the general election and backing Obama in a series of grueling Democratic Party primaries until he clinched his party’s nomination for president, black voters defied the largely unchallenged views of African-American elected officials and political insiders, including Vernon Jordan, Andrew Young and others who said the U.S. Senator from Illinois had no chance of winning the nation’s highest elected political office or that he should wait until his better-known rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, served eight years as president before he sought the nation’s presidency.
Jordan, a Clinton supporter, typified this thinking. He recalled his conversation with Obama Nov. 28 on the television show hosted by Charlie Rose. “I said, Barack, I’m an old Negro who believes that to everything there is a season, and I don’t think this is your season.”
While Jordan and other so-called wise men and women thought Obama had little or no chance, black voters felt otherwise.
According to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington-based think tank for black elected officials, black voter turnout in the 2008 election reached a historic high.
“The total share of the national vote represented by black voters between 2004 and 2008 increased from 11% to 13%, according to exit polls,” wrote David A. Bositis, the Joint Center’s senior research associate.
The Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, also based in Washington, said between 126.5 million and 128.5 million individuals voted in November’s election compared to 122 million individuals who voted in 2004’s presidential election.
Black voters gave Obama 95% of their vote, which is a higher percentage than the 94% they gave President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Bositis writes.
Bositis attributed the high black voter turnout to Obama’s campaign making a strong effort to get black voters, especially young black voters, to the polls. Black voters also sensed, unlike the Jordans and Youngs, that the country had reached a historic turning point.
Barack Obama and Lewis Carl Hamilton Are Black Men Of The Year
orthStar News selected Barack Obama as its 2008 “Man of The Year” because of his election Nov. 4, 2008, as the nation’s first black-male president.
When U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears Obama in as president Jan. 20, 2009, he will lead the world’s most-powerful country, a nation that faces prodigious challenges domestically and globally that partly were created by the outgoing administration of President George Bush.
Obama wanted to become president, and he has the job for at least the next four years.
He would not have reached the pinnacle of success if he did not believe in himself, and if he had not surrounded himself with the best and brightest minds to help make his quest possible.
He also ignored the naysayers, unfortunately many of them black men, who said Obama did not stand a chance of voters electing him president of the United States. In essence, they urged him to quit the race and cede it to rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
For us Baby Boomers who remember Alabama Gov. George Wallace standing in the door of the University of Alabama in 1963 to prevent black students from enrolling, the treatment of Obama by some black leaders has been a distressing experience.
In the presidential campaign, we witnessed black men who wanted to stop a black man from striving to realize his dream.
NorthStar News also selected Lewis Carl Hamilton 2008 “Man of The Year,” after Hamilton became the first black man and the youngest driver in automobile racing history to win Formula One Driver Of The Year.
Hamilton, a 23-old-black Englishman, clinched the title at the Nov. 11, 2008, Brazilian Grand Prix, the final Formula One race of the 2008, 18-race season. Formula One racing is the world’s most-expensive sport, with some car engines costing as much as $35 million, say observers. The cars race at speeds of up 225 miles per hour.
Unfortunately, Formula One racing is not held in the United States so many of us may not know about it. Formula One racing, however, is held throughout the world and draws huge crowds.
Like Obama, Hamilton faced challenges in his chosen profession.
In Spain, a country, which has a reputation for treating everyone regardless of race equally, some race fans covered their faces with black face and wore black wigs.
They also wore T-shirts that read “Hamilton’s Family,” and they called him ‘nigger’ as he made a practice run at Circuit de Catalunya in Catalonia, Spain. Spanish race fans also established a website, threatening to kill Hamilton if he won driver of the year honors.
Obama and Hamilton chose different professions, but they have something in common. They are both black men of mixed parentage. Their fathers are black and their mothers are white. Obama’s father was from Kenya and Hamilton’s father’s parents immigrated to England from Grenada.
In both cases, Obama’s and Hamilton’s parents instilled in them the drive and determination to succeed, which should inspire all black men.