08/31/08 — Tickets to history - November choices attest to nation's greatness

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Tickets to history - November choices attest to nation's greatness

Forget about whether you are for or against Sen. Barack Obama — not forever, just for a minute.

Think instead about what this historic nomination says about the United States and its people — and what it really should say to young people of any color across this nation.

For the first time in history — and on the anniversary of the day that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I Have a Dream” speech — a black man accepted the nomination of his political party and is running for president of the United States. And that is after having what can be called a “spirited” campaign with a white woman who also wanted to be a candidate.

And now, a day later and on the other side of the political aisle, a 44-year-old woman from Alaska has been picked to be a candidate for vice president — not a first, but still a milestone.

Perhaps all those who critique the United States and those who doubt its American dream might have reason to think a little bit differently about what freedom creates and what opportunities really exist in this country for someone who is willing to do the work.

It kind of makes you think that perhaps there isn’t room to use the — “there are no opportunities for (fill in the blank) in this country ...” argument anymore.

All three achievements suggest that hard work and determination are what make a man or woman able to achieve great things — no matter where he or she comes from. They also show that those who apply themselves, get an education and don’t accept limitations or excuses for why they have no opportunities can indeed achieve their dreams.

And that freedom of choice and possibility for success are why this is such a great country — and why those who choose to tarnish its reputation and to doubt its intentions should be sent packing.

But even though the nominations have been made and the gauntlet thrown, there is still more work to be done if this is truly going to be a historic moment and a chance to impact the future.

Presidential hopeful Obama should not be anointed because he is black — and Gov. Sarah Palin’s sex should not be the reason someone casts a vote for Sen. John McCain, either.

The choice for president of the United States should be based on who is most qualified to serve — and who has the vision that will be best for this nation’s future — not on anything else.

To make a choice for any other reason is to reject the theory that race and sex do not matter — and that all men and women truly are created equal and that their qualifications were the reason they were picked.

Why is that just as important as the nominations themselves? Because that is the only measure of true equality and lasting change.

Only time will tell if any of these nominations truly meet that criterion.

The debates ahead will be interesting — and we have two more months to decide which set of candidates will be the best leaders.

But, for now, it is time to mark a page in history and be proud, again, to be Americans.

Published in Editorials on August 31, 2008 11:09 AM