Why Historians for Obama Matter
by Populista, Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 11:01:58 AM EST
Today 26 of the nations leading historians signed a letter endorsing Barack Obama for president. You may say that they are historians who cares about people to document the past. But as a history buff I believe history will shape the future. These historians know the great figures of the past. Lincoln, Roosevelt and Kennedy. And they can tell if someone will be a leader in that tradition. And they are joining millions of Americans who are inspired and are ready to change the world.
First they lay out the great challenges that face our nation:
Our country is in serious trouble. The gap between the wealthy elite and the working majority grows ever larger, tens of millions of Americans lack health insurance and others risk bankruptcy when they get seriously ill, and many public schools do a poor job of educating the next generation. Due to the arrogant, inept foreign policy of the current administration, more people abroad mistrust and fear the United States than at any time since the height of the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, global warming speeds toward an unprecedented catastrophe. Many Republicans and overwhelming numbers of Independents and Democrats believe that, under George W. Bush, the nation has badly lost its way. The 2008 election thus comes at a critical time in the history of the United States and the world.
And then they present out what the next leader of our country can do. And who has the potential to do it.
A president can alter the mood of the nation, making changes possible that once seemed improbable. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and kept the nation united; Franklin D. Roosevelt persuaded Americans to embrace Social Security and more democratic workplaces; John F. Kennedy advanced civil rights and an anti-poverty program.
Barack Obama has the potential to be that kind of president. He has the varied background of a global citizen: his father was African, his stepfather Indonesian, his mother worked in the civil rights movement, and he spent several years of his childhood overseas. As an adult, he has been a community organizer, a law professor, and a successful politician - both at the state and national level. These experiences have given him an acute awareness of the inequalities of race and class, while also equipping him to speak beyond them.
That is exactly why I think Barack Obama bring about the change we need. Can't you see Barack Obama leading the fight for Universal Health Care just as FDR lead the fight for Social Security? Can you see him signing the Abolition Proclamation to abolish of nuclear weapons once and for all? Can you see him challenging the nation to undertake our next great challenge, solving global warming and our dependence on forign oil, by making a new green society just as JFK challenged us to put a man on the moon? I sure can. Can you believe again?
As president, Barack Obama would only begin the process of healing what ails our society and ensuring that the U.S. plays a beneficial role in the world. But we believe he is that rare politician who can stretch the meaning of democracy, who can help revive what William James called "the civic genius of the people." We invite other historians to add your name to this statement. You can do so by contacting email@example.com and/or Ralph Luker, firstname.lastname@example.org
These historians have spent there lives learning about the horrors in our nations history and they believe that Barack Obama can lead us together to a new page in our history. These 26 men and women believe that together we can:
Joyce Appleby, University of California, Los Angeles*
David Blight, Yale University
Edward J. Blum, San Diego State University
Clayborne Carson, Stanford University
Dennis C. Dickerson, Vanderbilt University
W. Marvin Dulaney, College of Charleston
James Grossman, Newberry Library
Nancy A. Hewitt, Rutgers University
Jonathan Holloway, Yale University
Randal Jelks, Calvin College
Robert KC Johnson, Brooklyn College
Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
Steven Lawson, Rutgers University
James Livingston, Rutgers University
Ralph E. Luker, Cliopatria
James McPherson, Princeton University
Albert J. Raboteau, Princeton University
Edward B. Rugemer, Yale University
Nick Salvatore, Cornell University
Daniel J. Singal, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Harvard Sitkoff, University of New Hampshire
Daniel Soyer, Fordham University
Paul Spickard, University of California, Santa Barbara
Siva Vaidhyanathan, University of Virginia
Craig Steven Wilder, Dartmouth College
David W. Wills, Amherst College
*Institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only and, of course, do not indicate an institutional endorsement.
Will you join them? We have just 37 days until the Iowa caucuses and the winner is likely to become president of the United States of America. If we all work together we can make sure that person won't just be better then Bush, we can elect a leader who will transform America, and the world forever.
If you donate today you could join Barack Obama himself on the campaign trail. If you had a chance to campaign with FDR would you pass it up? Together my friends we can change the world, but only if we try.
35 days 'till change