City of Selma deserves a pat on the back

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 18, 2007

To the Editor:

Two weeks leading up to the visit of democratic powerhouses Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, there was an interesting theme being touted by news outlets around the world. This recurring theme was something to the effect of “Showdown for the Black Vote in Selma,” “Obama and Clinton Bump Heads in Selma” or “Clinton and Obama to slug it out over the Black Vote.”

Both Obama and Clinton are two well qualified candidates.

Email newsletter signup

Naturally, when there is talent like this vying for the same spot on a presidential ticket, loyal supporters of each are quick to decide which side of the fence they belong on.

However, prior to this historical visit in Selma, friendly competition almost crossed the line. For a minute, many people lost sight of the fact that, in the end, no matter who wins the presidential nomination, (assuming that either Obama or Clinton is to be nominated) one will end up supporting the other. Expanding on this, many lost sight of the possibility that a potential Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton ticket still exists. There are few that will doubt the loyalty, which the Clintons have shown and continue to show African Americans.

Likewise, Obama has built his career through service in the black community, and it is this commitment that allows him to be where he is today; Obama has brought a since of pride in the African American community. In a society where African American males are often portrayed as little more than delinquents or misfits, Obama has shined through. Therefore, the black community has strong ties to both Clinton and Obama. As a Selma native residing in Maryland, I had the chance to see history being made in my hometown from an “outsider” perspective.

From the looks of the headlines, prior to the visit, one would have thought that nothing short of a fight between the Clinton and Obama camps were to take place.

Thanks to the city of Selma, the negative connotation, associated with this visit, was put to rest.

Event organizers and city leaders put the world on its back, allowing both Obama and Clinton to come together for one common cause; to recognize the fact that Selma was the battle ground of the Civil Rights movement. The common message for the weekend was that, without the blood that was shed in the Selma, neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton would be where they are today. The people of Selma made sure that this historical moment, and the celebration of The Civil Rights Movement was not made a mockery of by letting it turn into a political circus. In doing this, Selma showed more than just a touch of class.

The world was able to see just why such a small town in the state of Alabama was able to attract two of the world’s most powerful individuals.

Afterwards, the themes of the headlines were a little different. I saw headlines such as “Selma’s ‘Bloody Sunday’ brings together Sens. Obama, Clinton,” “Obama, Clinton mark infamous civil rights clash” and “Clintons, Obama honor activists in Selma.”

Instead of being remembered as a political fight over the African American vote, this event will be remembered as two possible future presidents coming together to pay homage to those who paved the way before them.

Dondi “Duke” West

Information Warfare Officer

United States Navy

Fort Meade, Md.