Commentary: Obama must work to heal divisions

This editorial appeared in The (Raleigh) News & Observer.

The people of the United States now have opened the door for Barack Obama to step into the ages. The young senator from Illinois, tested by a campaign of nearly two years, shaped through a sturdy upbringing by a grandmother in Hawaii who died just two days before his election to the presidency, bestowed with a keen intellect and a remarkable gift for communication, will in January take the oath of office to lead this nation in troubled times.

He will then become the first person of color to be president. History was made yesterday, 143 years after the end of the Civil War, but still a time in which many Americans can recall racial discrimination both subtle and overbearing. We are not that far removed from the decades when black Americans, entitled to all the rights enjoyed by others, were denied them. And we are in a time when racial issues still can divide us, a reality that the president-elect confronted in his own campaign.

But now, Obama is no longer a candidate. He will be president. Now he must campaign again, not for victory, but for unity.

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