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On this momentous day in America, a threshold is crossed

Barack Obama is not the black president.

He is our president.

The president for all of us Americans.

That was the vibe from some members of our African-American community, who may be weary — or leery — of all the buzz and ballyhoo that’s been building into a crescendo for today’s inauguration.

Let’s face it.

There is no denying today’s historical significance.

After 233 years of existence under 43 presidents, the republic will have its first black man residing in the White House.

Ignoring that fact is folly.

Yet I can see people’s point.

Forget the color of Obama’s skin.

What really matters is whether he has the right stuff to be a good president of the United States.

I get it.

We all understand it’s the bottom line.

Enough citizens of all creeds and cultures wanted a “regime change” and voted for Obama last Nov. 4.

His skin color didn’t stop them.

They believed he was the better man for the top job.

Although the stakes are considerably different, it reminds me of another arena where race has become a decided non-issue.

That is, playing quarterback in the NFL.

Take Donovan McNabb.

As a longtime Philadelphia Eagles’ fan, I’ve gone through the highs and lows watching No. 5 perform the past decade.

Yet thinking of McNabb as a black quarterback truly has never been part of my frame of reference.

Nor part of my lexicon.

He is a quarterback.

The only thing that counts is how successfully McNabb performs after taking the snap from center.

Just win.

The same will apply to Obama after he places his hand on the Bible and takes the oath of office.

Just be the best president he can be.

Of course, it’s going to be easier said than done.

The challenges the 44th president faces are daunting.

Obama’s task is an unenviable one.

Yet the prayers and well wishes of the majority of Americans are with him.

Especially on this momentous day.

Among those supporters who went to Washington, D.C., are people from here. Folks whose blood, sweat and tears watered the civil rights trail.

Some have tickets to the ceremonies. Some don’t.

Didn’t matter to the latter.

They had to be there.

Hang the expense.

A threshold has been crossed.

For every American.

God speed, President Obama.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, writes about people and issues in Manatee County. Call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification.

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