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INK_BLAST | WHAT BARACK OBAMA EXPECTS FROM US | PART 1

INK_BLAST | WHAT BARACK OBAMA EXPECTS FROM US | PART 1

By Juleyka Lantigua
Obama_pt1 Everywhere you turn, people are talking about the high expectations sitting squarely on President-Elect Barack Obama’s shoulders. He’s got to fix the economy. Give us universal health care. Mend our ailing public school system. Restore our standing in the rest of the world. End the war in Iraq. Heal centuries of racial divisiveness. Make us an energy-independent superpower. In short, he’s gotta save the world.

But few of us  have yet to ask, "What does Barack expect from me?"

Beyond echoing JFK’s universal (and rhetorical) "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," Obama’s presence in the White House–dare I say the miracle of his ascent to power–will confront each of us, specially black and brown folks, with that unforgiving question.

Since Obama’s triumphant election night and eloquent call for each of us to be the change we want to see in this country, I’ve been talking to my friends (Black and Latino, and everyone else) about the notion that we will also have expectations placed upon us. People have often cited the biblical refrain, "To whom much is given, much is expected" (Luke 12:48). And even Spiderman was reminded by his beloved uncle that "with great power comes great responsibility."

Today, that’s very true for Barack Obama. But it is also true for the rest of us. In the next few columns, I will set out to explore some of the "expectations" that, directly or indirectly, will be placed on us collectively and individually as he fulfills his role as our new president.

Here are a few that I hope to explore:

—We will be expected to embody integrity, discipline and sensible judgment in how we conduct ourselves and in the choices we make.

—We will be expected to show respect for ourselves and for others, especially when all our instincts compel us to do the exact opposite.

—We will be expected to honor our wives and husbands, and to use our family’s well-being to measure the worth, benefit and impact of everything else in our lives.

—We will be expected to go far beyond agreeing to disagree with our foes, and instead find common ground from which to start a real dialogue.

—We will be expected to face our own weaknesses and welcome those who strengthen us in those areas.

—We will be expected to grow through our trials, while taking responsibility for our own failures.

—We will be expected to posses real self-knowledge, the type that fortifies the self without eroding your sense of belonging to a greater collective.

—We will be expected to be humble, while sharing our successes with everyone who helped us achieve them.

—We will be expected to cherish the honor in something rightly earned through hard work and sacrifice.

Look for weekly installments exploring these and other topics that surface as we enter this new era of possibility. If you’d like, please add your own "expectation" to the comments section.

"Juleyka Lantigua is a journalist and editor whose work appears in national newspapers and magazines. For more info visit: www.juleykalantigua.com."

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