Toni Morrison Endorses Barack Obama

Toni MorrisonAs eloquent as ever, author Toni Morrison announced her endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama. Here is her letter.

Dear Senator Obama,

This letter represents a first for me–a public endorsement of a Presidential candidate. I feel driven to let you know why I am writing it. One reason is it may help gather other supporters; another is that this is one of those singular moments that nations ignore at their peril. I will not rehearse the multiple crises facing us, but of one thing I am certain: this opportunity for a national evolution (even revolution) will not come again soon, and I am convinced you are the person to capture it.

May I describe to you my thoughts?

I have admired Senator Clinton for years. Her knowledge always seemed to me exhaustive; her negotiation of politics expert. However I am more compelled by the quality of mind (as far as I can measure it) of a candidate. I cared little for her gender as a source of my admiration, and the little I did care was based on the fact that no liberal woman has ever ruled in America. Only conservative or “new-centrist” ones are allowed into that realm. Nor do I care very much for your race[s]. I would not support you if that was all you had to offer or because it might make me “proud.”

In thinking carefully about the strengths of the candidates, I stunned myself when I came to the following conclusion: that in addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don’t see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it. Wisdom is a gift; you can’t train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace–that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.

When, I wondered, was the last time this country was guided by such a leader? Someone whose moral center was un-embargoed? Someone with courage instead of mere ambition? Someone who truly thinks of his country’s citizens as “we,” not “they”? Someone who understands what it will take to help America realize the virtues it fancies about itself, what it desperately needs to become in the world?

Our future is ripe, outrageously rich in its possibilities. Yet unleashing the glory of that future will require a difficult labor, and some may be so frightened of its birth they will refuse to abandon their nostalgia for the womb.

There have been a few prescient leaders in our past, but you are the man for this time.

Good luck to you and to us.

Toni Morrison

No wonder she won the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes.

  7 comments for “Toni Morrison Endorses Barack Obama

  1. Dan Chmielewski
    January 28, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    A Toni Morrison endorsement is news here! You’re kidding me Bill. So what. Do were care about the Barbra Streisand endorsement too? Who are the Captain and Tennielle pulling for? Anne Rice shilled for Hillary, but I wouldn’t think to put that up here.

    I don’t take lots of stakes in endorsements; I want to know more about policy. I don’t see lots of different between Senator Edwards, Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. I will support any of them, as long as they are the nominee.

  2. January 28, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    OK Dan. I hope today’s endorsement from “The Lion of the Senate” provides the gravitas you think Ms. Morrison lacks.
    You have only a week to match your substantial contribution to the Hillary campaign with similar checks to the other candidates.

  3. January 29, 2008 at 6:41 am

    I agree with you that most endorsements matter little. I figure they should count for little in accruing to the benefit of my candidate rather than for the competition.

    It wasn’t the Captain or Tenille who dubbed Bill Clinton the first Black president. Neither was it Streisand or Anne Rice.

    We both know that people vote for president as much with their hearts as with their heads. People care as much about the soft qualities- character, wisdom, judgment – as the hard qualities – policy.

    It is to those soft qualities that Ms. Morrison speaks and, having been the one who actually did dub Bill Clinton as the first Black president, her endorsement carries a certain quality that most others lack.

  4. Dan Chmielewski
    January 29, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    in the end, can we agree that if a ham sandwich wins the Democratic nomination, we’ll all vote for ot?

  5. January 29, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    I hope so.

  6. January 29, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    in the end, can we agree that if a ham sandwich wins the Democratic nomination, we’ll all vote for ot? –

    Dan, what if I just can’t vote for ham? I mean, I Just can’t, ham is just hated by so many people, they’d rather starve than eat ham.

    Couldn’t we have it be a turkey sandwich?

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    January 29, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Vote for Jello; everyone loves Jello. My point is: If Clinton gets the nomination, we’ll vote for her. If Obama gets it, we’ll vote for him. If Edwards gets it, we’ll vote for him too. Our candidates are far superior to any of the Republicans.

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