The ancestry of all 44 presidents is limited to the following heritages, or some combination thereof: Dutch, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Swiss, German, and Africian
I had the opportunity to hear Barack Hussein Obama speak last night, while he was in San Francisco. It was a chance to see a man who’s beaten many odds to become President, and it was too good to pass up. President Obama is a lot of firsts - the first African-American President, first from the state of Hawaii, the first with a Muslim middle name, and a Nobel Prize winner to boot. Regardless of his politics, whether you agree or disagree, he is an impressive orator. Plus we got to hear Tracy Chapman, whose soulful voice and lone, throbbing guitar got everyone going.
Although I follow politics pretty closely (hey I have a husband who teaches the subject), I’m pretty much a voyeur and not that politically active (though I did run as my class vice president in high school, and won). Usually, when it comes to voting, I on focus on issues that are important to me and don’t tow a party or representative line - I’ve voted for both republicans and democrats at a national and local level (I voted for one of the Bushes… guess which one?)
I’ve always thought the best leaders, of any party, were those who could empathize with others– politicians who’ve seen their parents use food stamps are more likely to address poverty; those who’ve struggled for an education know its importance for changing a child’s future; those who’ve travelled know that people around the world want the same things for themselves and their children as we do at home.
Although I enjoyed President Obama’s twenty five minute speech, it was his last sentence that struck me the most – like most politicians he stated that he wanted to leave this world a better place for children in America, but where he differed was when he added that he wanted to leave a world a better place for children around the globe. It really struck me how his unique upbringing (having lived in other countries and having a diverse extended family) allows him to expand his vision of America’s place in the global sphere – we are a superpower, and our actions affect not only Main Street and Wall Street but Any Street around the world. Although I may not agree with all of President Obama’s initiatives, as our Commander in Chief, I have the hope he will leave us, and the world, a better place than how he found it.
PS. This is an excerpt from the Nobel Prize Committee as to why he was chosen:
…through his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples ... Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position ... Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts ... Obama [has] captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future.