On This Day…

Obama_Hope Yesterday Barack Obama became the first African-American to be nominated for President of the United States by one of the two major political parties. 

It's a milestone in the history of the United States that all Americans can take pride in, regardless of political affiliation.

I don't mind admitting that I am one of those "believers" in Obama.  It feels good to be excited once again and even hopeful about public service.  The last eight years have left me disillusioned and cynical about the presidency, which is just a bit dangerous for a high school history teacher who hopes to draw students to a rich and mature understanding of citizenship. 

The recent political ads from the McCain camp no doubt point to the dangers of reducing a public official to an ideal that appeals to our emotions rather than reason.  One has to wonder, however, whether such ads would be aired if the Republicans had fronted a more charismatic and engaging candidate.  In other words, the excitement that many feel for Obama can also be used to highlight how little fervor there is for McCain.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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6 comments… add one
  • Greg Rowe Aug 30, 2008 @ 10:56

    I teach a World Events class and a great deal has changed over the summer with these middle schoolers. Last year, I started with 9 students and, because of schedule changes, I ended up with 4. This year I started with 14 and have had three students change schedules to get into the class! These students, 7th and 8th graders, want to know more about how we elect the President, are impressed with Obama, and are aware that several of them will actually be old enough to vote in 2012. They want to get involved and are excited about it. I did too at their age, but I was a strange kid, but, now, it’s what more kids want to do. Kids who have struggled with social studies have joined the class and love it. As a teacher, that’s what I find amazing about Obama. He’s made my job so much easier right now! I’m not having to sell it, but the kids are buying it anyway.

  • Mannie Gentile Aug 28, 2008 @ 23:06

    A great time to be a teacher.

  • Kevin Levin Aug 28, 2008 @ 14:00

    Tim, — Of course, it is premature as it is for every candidate running for this office. At the same time, however, we expect/hope that our candidates are able to focus the nation on what is possible, that the individual can make a difference. That might be the most important quality in a candidate. If you walk by the Obama headquarters here in Charlottesville you will find mostly young people manning the phones and handing out information. I’ve never had students so excited about politics; usually, I am the one making the plea that typically falls on deaf ears. Americans want to believe in their nation and that they have a place.

    Whatever else we can say about Obama’s personal life or his politics, he has at least accomplished this much.

  • Tim Agazio Aug 28, 2008 @ 13:45

    I have to admit I’m a cynic when it comes to politicians – regardless of their political party. I recognize the historic nature of this election, but think the current euphoria is premature because right now all we have are words…and words don’t govern. I remember a similar feeling in the air about both Carter and Clinton when they were elected, but that same feeling wasn’t there when they left office…to a certian extent, the same goes for Reagan.

    It doesn’t matter to me who gets elected…I just hope 4 years from now the country is moving ahead and we aren’t regretting what will happen this coming November.

  • Daniel J. Pritchett Aug 28, 2008 @ 10:02

    Just over two months until the election, I’m looking forward to it!

  • Sherree Aug 28, 2008 @ 9:52

    Hat tip to two great Americans: Barack Obama for having the audacity to hope and giving all Americans the same; and John McCain for enduring the unendurable for five years. Thank you both for serving your country. Yes we can. We can, America.

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