“He is the product of the struggle of all people in this country,” Portales Democrat Oscar Robinson said about new President Barack Obama.
In the evening of Inauguration Day, Oscar and his wife, Sandra, discussed their support of Obama and moments they saw as significant during the inauguration events.
Sandra, a housewife who is white, supported Obama from the first time she heard him speak, on “Oprah.” Oscar, who is black, knocked on doors and weathered insults to campaign for the candidate during the primary elections after he decided to change from backing Hillary Clinton.
Oscar, who retired from Eastern New Mexico University after 22 years as personnel director, said his only disappointment in the presidential election was seeing people view Obama as African-American instead of American. He said no one can take away Obama’s African blood, but he doesn’t belong to just one race.
“He belongs to the whole country,” Oscar said.
Oscar sees Obama, who is about the age of Oscar’s oldest child, as the product of the teachings of his white mother’s parents and of Jackie Robinson, Duke Ellington and other social pioneers. The 68-year-old called himself a product of those who came before him, as well.
“So I look at (Obama) and see my kids living the dream that he lived: Getting a good education and staying the task and probably listening to the message of his grandparents,” he said.
Also, Oscar believes Obama will improve the economy, avoid wasteful spending, support peace while protecting the nation and break party gridlocks. Sandra said Obama is gracious, intelligent and unpretentious.
As for the inauguration, Oscar found special significance in the clip of Marian Anderson singing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 after she wasn’t allowed to perform at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., because of her race.
“That reminded me, and probably should have reminded everybody, how far this country’s come,” Oscar said.
While he believes America still contains racism, Oscar expects that attitude to die with his generation.
Sandra called the inauguration “star studded.”
“We came up in a different era, and things weren’t always good in the states, as far as race goes,” she said. “And for me to see this in my lifetime, that’s why it touched me so much.”
Sandra, who grew up in the 1950s and 60s, said seeing old views put aside for a new president gave her new hope.
“To me, it was like Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream was fulfilled, in Obama,” she said.
Also, Sandra thought it was special that Obama used Abraham Lincoln’s Bible during his oath of office and took a train ride from Philadelphia.
During inauguration events, Oscar said, Obama showed humility in recognizing John McCain, the “American hero” who opposed him in the election. Joe Biden showed grace and did well in recognizing his role as vice president, Oscar said.
Oscar campaigned for Obama because he thought Obama would do better in human relations, economic improvement and world peace, he said.
“Now whether or not he will be able to accomplish all these things and whether the tag of ‘too liberal’ will hold true against him, I don’t know, but 2,000 years later, we still recognize Jesus Christ,” Oscar said.
Oscar called Christ the first liberal because he fed the masses ideals and spoke against suffering.
In 2 1/2 years, Oscar predicted, people will join the “Obama bandwagon” and say the nation is in recovery.