In this campaign, especially in recent days, I’ve been struck by the hurt tone that I hear from many Clinton backers. I’m not sure I really understand it, but they seem to think that people are supporting Obama over Clinton purely for reasons of gender, so they feel especially frustrated by women who support Obama and younger people who were supposed to be beyond that kind of sexism. It seems it has never occurred to them that Obama’s support has to do with who Obama is and his abilities as a candidate.
For that reason, I was especially heartened to read Alice Walker’s endorsement of Obama in The Root:
I am a supporter of Obama because I believe he is the right person to lead the country at this time. He offers a rare opportunity for the country and the world to start over, and to do better. It is a deep sadness to me that many of my feminist white women friends cannot see him. Cannot see what he carries in his being. Cannot hear the fresh choices toward Movement he offers. That they can believe that millions of Americans –black, white, yellow, red and brown – choose Obama over Clinton only because he is a man, and black, feels tragic to me.
When I have supported white people, men and women, it was because I thought them the best possible people to do whatever the job required. Nothing else would have occurred to me. If Obama were in any sense mediocre, he would be forgotten by now. He is, in fact, a remarkable human being, not perfect but humanly stunning, like King was and like Mandela is. We look at him, as we looked at them, and are glad to be of our species. He is the change America has been trying desperately and for centuries to hide, ignore, kill. The change America must have if we are to convince the rest of the world that we care about people other than our (white) selves.