New president means great deal to leaders

Published 11:40 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Members of the local black community witnessed a significant chapter of our nation’s long and turbulent history with the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first black president.

Bridges Anderson, director of Upward Bound program at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College’s Andalusia campus, said Obama’s move to the presidency serves as one more step for not only the black community, but the nation as a whole.

“I was born in the 60s,” he said. “I went to school when it was integrated and to experience what I went through at that time cannot be described. When I was in the first grade and we got up and said our pledge of allegiance to the American flag. I was not making a pledge to the Alabama flag or the California flag, I was making a pledge to the flag of the United States of America. Obama is asking for all people to come together and work as one nation to improve our situation. It is not all about color. It is about working together.”

Anderson said he placed his vote with Obama because of the economic plan the president-elect laid out for the nation.

“You have to look at the issues,” he said. “You have to look at the economy, the gas prices and individuals who are not doing too well. When I listened to the debate I felt Senator Obama had a better plan for the war, the economy and a better plan for people making $250,000 or less a year. It is all about the person you feel like will do the better job for Americans. We are all in this together for the next four years.”

Anderson said he learned early in life from his father, who worked as a cook for 25 years, that all people are one under the same nation.

“When he had to go cook he had to go in the back,” he said. “When we went to see him we had to go to the back. He was cooking for other people, but we would sit down in the back and eat hamburgers he prepared for us. It was all the same food. We were all eating the same food. My parents taught me to keep living and striving to be better.”

Dr. Daniel Shakespeare, principal of Andalusia High School, said he cast a Democratic vote because he felt Obama has the best plan to help alleviate some of the situations currently facing the U.S.

“I thought it is the democracy at its best,” he said. “It paints a picture that illustrates the fact that anyone in this country, that works hard enough and does the right things, can achieve anything in this country they want to achieve. This is the perfect example for these young people of today.”

Shakespeare said the election as a whole caused more excitement among the student body at AHS than he has witnessed during previous elections.

“We generated more conversation here among students at Andalusia High School than I have noticed in the past during any other election,” he said. “Faculty members have always held a healthy discussion of politics during elections, but the students got involved in this election and were more interested than they have been in the past. I am happy Obama won the presidency and I just look forward to what is in store for the future.”