• Terrell Whitener

President Barack Obama: The Pre-eminent Voice

In the first of a series of articles I plan to publish on the topic of key African-American voices leading up to the 2020 election, I begin with the man that I feel is the most important voice Barak Obama. Since he burst onto the scene with his memorable speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Barak Obama has inhabited a prominent place in the discourse of the African-American community. Initially not embraced by many, his confident nature and steadfast resolve that his message was necessary for the times, led this gifted politician to the highest office in the land just five years later.

During his presidency he navigated through the minefields of resistance and spoke to our community in a way not experienced since Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His steely resolve and quiet strength gave many of us the comfort of knowing that we were not only heard but for the first time in our lives truly understood. Like any relationship, many did not agree with every decision President Obama would make over the years, but we always felt that we would not only be heard but respected along the way. Widely respected by many throughout the world, Barak Obama not only awakened the dreams for many individuals but would take the lid off the just below the surface hate of many individuals as well. It is this dichotomy of emotions that continues to make his voice so important within our community.

As the 2020 election season begins, I like many believe this may be as important an election as any in my lifetime. Clear lines have been drawn as to the tone and direction our country will move in. In a country with clear ideological differences as well as razor thin voting results exist, the voice of Barak Obama will play a key role in encouraging voter turnout in the African-American community. Though I am confident that President Obama will support the nominee of his party, the perception of his genuine enthusiasm for the nominee will go a long way in encouraging the resolve shown at the polls. There will be no endorsement more coveted than Barak Obama’s. He may choose to wait, but the anticipation will be great.

It has been reported that the process of meeting with potential candidates has already began for the former President. While I am sure each person that meets with him would love to garner his endorsement as early as possible, these meetings are probably not much more than mentoring sessions with some, getting to know the candidate better for others, but hopefully each will take the time to learn more about the gravity of the office they seek. While the former President can not will the individual to victory, his political acumen put to real use could serve to be invaluable. So, as we wait for this most important voice to let us in on his thoughts, we would be well served to begin our own examination of the true positions for those who would become serious candidates for our votes.

There is a need for us to minimize the “noise” and inaccurate portrayals of our views and positions in this country. In my opinion we must hold tightly to the ideas and experiences that know to be true and just. We must allow our discernment to filter fact from fiction, become more lazar focused on the desire to make our condition better overall. The strength of Barak Obama is his ability to take these complex challenges and deliver them in common sense language.

So, I begin this series with President Barak Obama. I urge you to follow my blog as I present other individuals that the African-American community should stay dialed into as we make our way towards the most important election of our time.

Terrell Whitener is author, motivational speaker and coach. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Terrell is the author of The First 365,Learning to Live After Loss. Terrell can be reached at, LinkedIn @terrellwhiteneror through the Widow Support Network.

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