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It restores my belief in the voting system
Locals react to Obamas election
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Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American  president of the U.S. was history making. Here is some of the local reaction:

Dave Williams, Bryan County NAACP Chairman:
I feel overwhelmed with pride, and it has actually restored my belief in the country I love. It really says that, hey, if you want to – you can do it. Yes we can. It also restores my belief in the voting system. Even though there were probably some things that went on that shouldn’t have, the fact is that if people get out and exercise their right, they can make a difference.

We’ve come a long way. I’m happy for all the children in this country. This, more than anything else, is going to be a benefit to them more than anyone else.

just had a conversation with someone who I know is not a fan of Obama. One of the things she said was that a lot of people voted for Obama because he was black. I believe more people voted for McCain, even though they did not like his policies, because he was not black. I think they need to look at it from both ends of the spectrum. I think more people voted for Obama because of his policies and the fact that they wanted a change, than because of the color of his skin.

Jimmy Burnsed, Bryan County Commission Chairman:
It’s certainly historic, and I agree with all of those that said that this could only happen in the land of the free and the home of the brave, which continues our uniqueness as a democracy.

his has been an extra long campaign, but the people have spoken. Of course, we all now have to pull together because it’s our country whether or not the one we voted for won, and we’ve got to keep our country continuing on. And it will continue on and it will work because our founding fathers really put this thing together in such a manner that the president is part of the puzzle but he’s not the whole solution to making things work. We’ve all got to work it together.

Lavetris Singleton, Richmond Hill resident and University of Phoenix Administrator:
I’m almost at a loss for words over it. Being African American, it is just amazing. I never thought I’d see anything like this in my lifetime. I think the fact that so many came together and elected him is awesome. It shows how our country has progressed.

think that for so long, and not just black people, but so many people have thought that’s something we could never do or that’s something that’s off limits to us. And I think this is going to show a lot of people that anything is possible and there really is hope. He talked a lot about hope in his campaign, and he has done that for a lot of people.

Judy Cook, Mayor of Pembroke:
It’s an historic moment. It shows the versatility of people because Obama’s supporters were a mixture of a very diverse group of people.

I think that people were ready for a change and that was his platform. He never varied from that platform. In these troubled times, people are looking for something to hold onto and for someone to stand up and say they can change the tide.

Richard Davis, Mayor of Richmond Hill:
Obama wasn’t my choice in this election, but we all need to pray for him to do the right thing. He’s going to be faced with a lot of challenges and he’s going to need everybody’s support.

I was pulling for McCain, but you have to live the hand that you’re dealt. And, who knows, he might surprise us all.

Rev. Francys Johnson, Pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Pembroke:
The improbable is now possible.
The amazing thing is that, in spite of the bombardment of negative racial politics at every level of government, America has experienced great success in turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones. Indeed, the ‘sons of former slaves’ have moved with full speed into highest spheres of business, academe, law, and society.  Likewise, it has been the ‘sons of former slave owners’ not content to profit from a notion of birth right  that have helped to tear down barriers and demand equal opportunity for all people. So it was with a collective “its about time” that we all listened to Obama’s transcendent victory speech and were able exhale and move on with our everyday victories of tearing down old barriers one successful career and diverse relationship at a time.

Election pundits of every political hue have written, talked, and blogged since Obama’s Iowa victory of a ‘new wind’ blowing in the American electorate.  This ‘new wind’, they maintain, could signal the end to the predominance of racial politics and the resulting political party dynamics.  In fact, this is not a ‘new wind’ at all.  Yet, not one can deny that it’s finally picking up speed.  Obama’s campaign sails have caught this energy because it has sought to realign political rhetoric with the collective faith that America’s best day must always be tomorrow and the persistent optimism that despite the day’s challenge – we shall overcome.

We mark Obama’s win as a day when politics finally caught up with where the vast majority of the people find themselves. Beyond race and the limitations it imposes. Finally, a President inspiring a nation to its highest potential through a message of change and hope that resonates with men, women, young, old, independents, democrats and republicans…and he just happens to be African American.  

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