Today is the inauguration of President Obama’s second term in office. For a sizable chunk of the country (including a vast majority of my Big Red home state*), the start of Obama’s second four years in the White House is a cause for trepidation, not celebration.
*How deeply Republican is Nebraska? In the 2012 election, Mitt Romney won 92 of the 93 counties in the state. In 43 of those 93 counties, Romney received over 75% of the vote. The lone victory for Obama came in tiny Thurston County, where Obama won by 308 votes. In Nebraska, Obama yard signs were about as common as folks flying Texas Longhorns flags on fall Saturdays – you could do it, but it’s a great way to alienate your friends and neighbors.
But setting aside the President’s politics, I am thrilled to see him get another four years. Why? It’s not because I’m a card-carrying liberal or have a strong connection to any of his policies. The reason is much more personal.
We adopted both of our children through an agency in Florida. My son is African-American, and we believe our daughter’s birth father is black. We know that the color of their skin is going to stand out here – it does almost every time we leave the house – and there will come a day when they are treated differently because of their skin. I know that some day they will have doubts on what they can achieve, or if the color of their beautiful skin will be a hinderance to their hopes and dreams.
When those moments occur, I will remind them that for the first four and eight years of their lives, a black man was the President of the United States of America. And with the proper motivation, dedication, and passion there is absolutely nothing they cannot accomplish.
For me, having a positive role model like Obama for my children trumps any concerns my fellow citizens may have about his policies and views.