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Sunday, Jan 20 2013 11:00 PM

DANNY MORRISON: Obama came between us, America, but come back to me

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    Danny Morrison

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Dear America the Beautiful: I miss you so much. What happened to us anyway? And why am I sitting here in tears writing this letter doubting our relationship? It seemed just like yesterday you and I were making progress together. Me, an inexperienced man that had only entered into a union with one lady. You. And you, the richest in the world, were always someone that the world was jealous of. But it was never about money with me. I just loved that you were beautiful, progressive, strong, helpful in a fight, and always draped in my three favorite colors -- red, white and blue.

I have to admit, I had heard about your checkered racial past. Slavery, Blacks sitting at the back of the bus. Segregation, Jim Crow laws, Brown v. Board of Education. I could go on. And I wasn't sure that you would be receptive to a close relationship with a black person. Older family members would remind me about your unwillingness to be inclusive back in the day, but I didn't care. I knew that in order to have a lifelong and fruitful relationship, you had to prove to me that you could be a forward-thinking, ever-evolving entity. I felt that as long as you and I were together, I could achieve your dream. You believed in me. You were the panacea to their preposterousness. Because I could tell that Liberty and Justice were always at the top of your agenda.

Then a guy named Barack Obama swooped down into our lives. And you changed.

As you might recall, you were the one that introduced me to this amazing man. All I knew was that he was this skinny Harvard law professor from Chicago. And you seemed so enamored with him when he moved into that big, white house at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Some say it ushered in a post-racial society, but I was just excited at the proposition of your continued path of equality, embracement and multicultural aspirations.

But then I started noticing something that wasn't good. I recognized that some of your past friends from the wrong side of the tracks started to resurface and hang out with you. I could be wrong, but it appeared that the source of their frustrations was primarily with Obama's skin color. I started hearing full-throated racism. I saw racist bumper stickers and Obama hanging in effigy on front lawns. I heard about voter disenfranchisement and voter suppression. I started seeing voter ID laws put into place. I saw cartoons with watermelons on the White House lawn. A pastor praying for Obama's death. Obama called a Muslim Kenyan. Chants for his birth certificate. These people were a part of your history? I was scared because they were worse than I could've ever imagined.

But recently, I received some amazing news. Obama's lease has just been renewed and extended through 2016! It's a second chance for the three of us to get reacclimated. But the question is, are these prejudiced people back to being a part of your social landscape or are they temporary blips on the screen? Have I been blind all this time? Will you hurt me again?

America, I miss what we were. We were two rockets with red glare. Two bombs bursting in air. We've drifted apart lately, but you are still the greatest I've ever known. And no hatred for me or Obama will ever make me stop loving and appreciating you. I've been thinking about you a lot lately. Do you still think about me even as my Latino friend has eclipsed me as the nation's No. 1 minority? You and I have an illustrious history with one another. Let's bring it all back together like the good ol' days, starting with a universal willingness to work with this president. If you meant what you said in the Declaration of Independence about "All men are created equal," following that philosophy could make us better than ever. I'll be watching and waiting. I hear people keep saying they "want America back." But you know what? So do I.

Danny Morrison, born and raised in Bakersfield, is a local radio personality and a sales representative in the building industry. Community Voices is an expanded commentary of 650 to 700 words. The Californian reserves the right to edit all submissions for length and clarity.

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