The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Opinion

January 28, 2013

Lost in all of the bickering is significance of Obama election

---- — Especially with President Barack Obama’s inauguration for a second term fresh in everyone’s mind, it seems as though every newspaper, news channels and unlimited web pages inundate us about the state of the country.

We are bombarded with news about debt ceilings, fiscal cliffs, immigration laws, record deficits and the impact of Obamacare. They are many of the news issues that are dividing the country, especially when stories contain the president’s philosophy regarding them.

Of course, as difficult as it is to believe, the inane non-issues continue to rear their ugly heads when buffoons like Donald Trump still question the president’s country of birth while others doubt that he attended Harvard, claim that he hates God, and that he’s really an evil plant sabotaging to end our country.

Obama has been roundly (and fairly I might add) criticized for some of his decisions during his first term as president. His handling of the country’s debt crisis usually tops the list, along with his fight for the populist Obamacare. The next four years will contribute heavily about how he is remembered as president - not by extremes on the left and right but by history.

But for all of the political division facing our country, lost in the divisive conversation is the significance of his election and re-election to our country’s highest office. While we have a ways to go, electing a black man to the presidency - in a historical context - is an important chapter for America.

As I watched the inauguration, I couldn’t help but think of how far our country has come, to a point where almost 66 million Americans voted for the president. I contrasted that to my time growing up in Farrell and as a teenager in the late 1960s. I watched, from my second-floor bedroom on Emerson Avenue, as militants from outside of the area looted and rioted, burning buildings from block to block on Idaho Street.

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