During my childhood and teenage years my parents told me that I would be held to a higher standard than my peers. At the time I didn’t believe them and believed that it was just a cultural and generational fear. As I got older and entered the job world I quickly learned that my parents warnings were true.
Without offering a chronological resume of all the jobs that I’ve had for the past twenty years I will simply summarize what I understood the message my parents gave me. For some reading this, your parents may have given you a similar warning. What my parents was trying to warn me is that society has a general perception of me. This unspoken perception is different for every group. I can only speak for myself; your experiences may be very similar of vastly different. Either way it was unfair, because someone subjected you to your own version of the “Commander-in-Chief” Test.
This so-called Commander-in-Chief test recently popularized by Hillary Clinton is like a factious assessment test that no one can pass except former Presidents and Vice-Presidents. It’s unfair to subject Barack Obama or John McCain to this type of test, because neither one of them has ever been the Commander-in-Chief.
Lately it seems that the factious Presidential A.C.T. is being administered not by Hillary Clinton, but by sources that never taken the test and wouldn’t know how to grade Senator Obama on his performance on the test.
John McCain has continued to bait Barack Obama on his Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Senator Obama has held his ground on all of these attacks with basically the same answer. It’s amazing to see how now the White House, George Bush, John McCain are crafting their answers to mirror that of Barack Obama. It’s like how I would sneak-a-peak at my friend’s answers in Geometry class back in high school. (I hope my H.S. Geometry teacher Mr. Lane isn’t reading this. Oh well too late now.)
I believe Barack should be given some type of credit for having the current Commander-in-Chief and his opponent referencing his ideas. Perhaps he’s already passed this “test” and they’re just looking for something else to get him on.
This poll tax of perception placed on Obama reinforces what my parents told me all those years ago; you must be twice as good as everyone else. The perception of being Black, Asian, Hispanic, Mixed, Poor or a Woman in America will not disappear after Barack Obama is President. It will have to be a collective effort of everyone willing to put an end to the biases that some still cling to in this country and throughout the world.
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Martin Luther King
The Commander-in-Chief test should be to see if we all can work together to resolve the inequalities that plague society today. Perhaps we can be graded on how well we can reduce our dependency on oil. Maybe the next Commander-in-Chief will be able to provide an effective Economic Policy. A good measurement of a great leader is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. That is the true Commander-in-Chief Test.