Thursday, February 18, 2010

Still writing about a vision that should be much more than a dream.

My commentary in latest edition of the ST. Louis American

This time last year, I was gleefully riding the wave of the 2008 election, clueless that, in less than two months, I’d lose my columnist gig with St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A year ago, I was ready to support a president with a mission to turn long-ignored urban areas into communities of opportunity and hope.

This year, I am adrift, with fading optimism and growing frustration.

What ended abruptly in April 2009, actually started in March 2007 with an interview with White House hopeful U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. I’m still embarrassed that I basically told the candidate he had no chance of becoming the first black president of the United States. At the time, Obama was a relatively unknown with a name eerily similar to the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I told the candidate that his opponents, both Democrat and Republican, would surely use Rovian tactics to smear his name and exploit the country’s biases and fears.

My predictions about the campaign were accurate, but I underestimated the candidate. He spoke to the nation’s frustrations with inspiring, techno-savvy media messages of harmony and hope. Hypnotized by the symbolic relevance of electing a visionary black president 40 years after the death of Dr. King, I became a full-fledged “Yes, we can!” Obama optimist.