While others look at candidates in this year’s Presidential Primary as individuals competing against each other, I prefer to look at politics as the ultimate team competition. Presidential hopeful Barack Obama best illustrates this analogy. Right out of the box his competitors only concerns were how much of the black vote he could get, how well spoken he was and what his educational back ground was. Since then, many of them have been scrambling to play catch up based on their assumption that he was not a great team strategist.
For years, less privileged Americans have had to read about the triumphs and victories of selected famous elected politicians in our history books. Each and every ingredient required to run for office is well documented and available to the people via internet, written publications, and media sources. But the right combination on how to apply those ingredients and how much to use for political success has always been the missing link among candidates struggling for local office — and the ultimate political heavyweight prize of them all, the Presidency of the United States of America.
Barack Obama’s underestimated strategical skills by his competitors at assembling a top notch campaign team allowed him to fly under the radar for a little while as he raised millions of dollars, rejuvenated the young voters, and gained the respect and support of Middle America and veterans alike. The lesson I hope is realized by both Democrats and Republicans is that the players in this new era of politics do follow Party lines to some extent, but free agency is now the name of the game. In other words, how can I, as your elected official, help you?
History repeats itself, but this time the media and the internet to a large degree will determine some outcomes. For example, there was an email hoax flying around the internet claiming that Senator Barack Obama was a Muslim and was sworn into office using a Holy Koran. This email is about as true as the email suggesting that if you send this message to 50 people you will receive a free laptop computer. Even as I prepare to cast my primary vote at the Montgomery County Election Commission, I overheard this hoax repeated.
Now the oath of office hoax came from the internet, so only the internet can clear it up — so with one click of a mouse, behold the truth is found: Senator Obama is a devoted Christian and was sworn into office on the Holy Bible.
Vote with intelligence: use your well-researched information and use your brain, not your conscience. Barack Obama is the person I chose for this story but who you vote for is ultimately up to you. This is just a reminder that time brings about change, and the political and civil rights power structures have shifted both locally and nationwide.
In the world of political competition, it still boils down to who assembles the best team with the best minds in the room; it does not necessarily boil down to the best money can buy or who has what credentials on paper.
We saw how the world’s oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP, was affected when former Verizon CEO Bruce Gordon came in and tried to make the organization less reactive and more proactive, but his team, the 64 members plus the board, could not find middle ground. It did not signal the downfall of the NAACP, which remains strong as ever, but merely reflects a call for change after 98 years of activism.
Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Alan Keyes, Carol Moseley Braun, and Al Sharpton are all candidates that ran for president and were all labeled black candidates — which really meant, fit for only blacks to vote for. To date the playing field is not yet equal, and the black candidate labeling continues. Strategically speaking, this time I like our chances.
Don’t forget to vote!
Editors Note: The Tennessee Presidential preference Primary is Feb. 5.