Sunday, February 22, 2009


I was asked recently why I refer to myself as an “Obamacrat” when I’m a registered Democrat. And it’s a very good question. From 2000 to 2007, I was a registered independent. During that period, I continued voting for Democrats because I liked their agenda and issues, but I scoffed at the notion of belonging to a party. After all, “issue identification” has always been more important to me than “party affiliation”.

But President Obama really inspired me to change my party affiliation…and ultimately, to believe again. My belief in the concept of the politics of hope has always been strong, but now it's bigger than the boundaries of this planet we inhabit. It was just a matter of time before I knew the word Obamacrat fully applied to me. But it's more than a word, it's a bonafide movement.

Allow me to explain.

To be an Obamacrat is to acknowledge (not dismiss) the color-specific differences that make us unique, while also embracing the color-blind commonalities that bring us together. If you see it this way, then you’re happy that President Obama has assembled a rich, cosmopolitan group of smart people that will advance, improve, and transform lives while "visually reflecting" the diversity of America. In a country of shifting demographics, this is necessary. In fact, Obamacrats will be cheering loudly when President Obama names a Latino and an Asian American to The Supreme Court.

To be an Obamacrat is to recognize that nothing, but nothing, trumps grass roots organizing. President Obama beat Hillary Clinton during the Democratic Primary season last year because of his simple community organizing philosophy: city-by-city; block-by-block; person-by-person. But he became the most popular person in the world when he grew his profile using the tools of The New Media: the MySpacing-YouTubing-Facebooking-texting-Twittering component. Obamacrats see this as the smartest way to market your message for a mass audience. And we appreciate how Barack Obama continues to use New Media tools to promote his presidential message.

Obamacrats crave diplomacy, you know, where our country talks to both its friends (like Great Britain and Israel) and its enemies (like North Korea and Iran). In a world that is more connected and inter-dependent than ever before, nations working together can reduce, if not obliterate, the child sex trade; female inequality; global warming; the AIDS epidemic; famine; and never-ending war.

Furthermore, Obamacrats also want a president who can bridge the cultural divide in this country, someone with both BLUE STATE credentials and RED STATE credibility. Indeed, regardless of who voted for him on November 4th, President Obama now represents the evangelical farmer in Montana and the supply-side economist in Mississippi (who probably didn’t support him) as well as the small business owner in California and the union worker in Connecticut (who probably did).

To be an Obamacrat is to believe you can build something as majestic as The Great Pyramids or The Great Wall of China; to believe you can be as historic and life-affirming as P.B.S. Pinchback or Shirley Chisholm; or to believe that regardless of your cultural name (Gupta, Nguyen, Garcia, Omar or, Obama) you can be President of the United States. You know there are limits, but your strong, overpowering belief in the possibilities pushes you, and drives you.

Labeling myself an Obamacrat is a profoundly impressive honor that I take very seriously. I love the fact that President Obama is not only a great communicator, but also an intellectual stud. The Obama Family living in The White House, a building built by African-American slaves, is compelling. Truly earth shattering. But, even more compelling is the fact that slaves also dug foundations, hauled limestone, baked bricks, and cleared timber for The Capitol, where Obama was inaugurated, and for the massive area known as The National Mall, where 2 million people were packed in to witness his swearing in.

Like President Obama, we walk in the spirit of people who championed our rights, who spoke truth to power, and, who even envisioned this great moment in history. Let us all make the most of it.

To be an Obamacrat? Man, right now, nothing even compares to the feeling.

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