NPR logo DNC Wrap-Up: 'Proud To Be An American'

Conventional Wisdom

DNC Wrap-Up: 'Proud To Be An American'

Conventional Wisdom

"It meant a lot to me to see our nation take this great stride," writes guest blogger Princella Smith about Sen. Barack Obama's nomination. Smith serves as Chief Advocate for the Platform of the American People at American Solutions, an organization founded by former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. We wrap up our coverage of the DNC, first, with Smith's reaction. We'll turn later to Farah Griffin's response.

Princella Smith

"Tomorrow, we'll be back at it, but tonight Senator, job well done." Sen. John McCain said these words in a very classy ad he released today.

Instead of continuing with politics as usual, he paused to recognize the historic moment that unfolded before America's eyes on Thursday night. It is finally official: An African American (part-white and all) accepted the nomination of a major party as its candidate for President of the United States.

Putting ideology aside, I have to say that as an American first and then as an African American, it meant a lot to me to see our nation take this great stride. What happened Thursday night was bigger than either political party. Our nation — at least, in part — was able to take one step closer to not only Dr. King's dream, but the dreams of many who worked, went to jail, and even died for such a time in America.

Does this mean that all of a sudden racism and prejudice are gone? Does this mean that "all African-Americans should just forget about the past, now?" Absolutely not, and I hate it when people say either of these things, but it does mean that as a country we are preparing to put our dark past behind us and encourage the growth of a nation where young people like my two young brothers can grow up in a country where it is not such a big deal or abnormality to run for president as a minority and actually win the nomination of your party. When people say African Americans should just "forget about the past," I ask them: "Do we tell World War II vets to just forget about the war?"

Observation

On a political standpoint, I would like to note that it was the first time that I saw Obama take attack after attack and answer them. He's been accused of a lack of heft and substance in his speeches beyond soaring rhetoric, and tonight, he went after McCain. The question is whether or not America will agree with him. After getting past the historic night, America will truly have to see. This piece was written as an acknowledgment of history without regard to specific party ideology, but I encourage everyone to vote with reason and not emotion. Make the best choice based on the issues.

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