NNPA Guest Commentary
If anyone had any doubts, after listening to President
Barack Obama address the Class of 2009
at the Notre Dame graduation, you have to admit he’s a genius. He didn’t in any
way back away from the controversy the media had whipped up for the past few
weeks regarding his position on a woman’s right to choose. President Obama went
right in and addressed a woman’s right to choose, the war, HIV/AIDS, handling
differences of opinion - you name it! He acknowledged the conflicts we have on
many issues, but challenged the class to find a way to live together as one
human family. He explained how community service can break down walls and
foster cooperation for the greater good.
He challenged the class to hold firm to their faith and allow it to guide them on their journey. He said that it’s possible to engage in vigorous debate while having differences of opinion—yet work through areas of conflict together.
We do that by extending the same presumption of good faith to others that we want extended to us. We don’t have to agree on every issue to find common ground on which we can work together. If we disagree on a woman’s right to choose, we can work together to make abortion less necessary. When a woman decides to carry an unplanned pregnancy to full term, we can work together to create health policies that respect women. We can work together on adoption. We can work together on ways to give the child a better life.
If we recognize our own imperfections and cease clinging to our worn out prejudices, we can resolve
so many of the challenges on which President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are offering
brilliant leadership. They’ve called us to community service. We all can serve our nation and our world
in a way that makes a positive difference— individually and collectively.
In the story of Miss Jane Pittman, we are told that people are always looking for somebody to come and lead them. And the Lord has always obliged in some way or another. Anytime a child was born, the old people looked the child in the face and asked if that child was the ONE.
Yes, the Lord has obliged us with the ONE, with a President who is a genius, to lead us. If only we could
have a few days of less criticism and questioning the motives of every move he makes…If only we
could find a willingness to roll up our own sleeves to do what we can to make this a better nation, a better world, ears have not heard and eyes have not seen the good we could accomplish together!
Each one of us can be the ONE to lead our own family or our own community! What a blessing so
much leadership would be for the common good!
Dr. E. Faye Williams is the national chair of the National Congress of Black Women.
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