Eugene Cho

a picture says a 1000 words beginning with: “inconceivable”

Update:  Check out a call for the church to move towards post-election reconciliation:  Let’s Kiss and Make Up.

The picture below sums up why Obama’s presidency is truly historical.  Many of us don’t really know because we’ve only seen it or felt it through the eyes and stories of others.  As I shared in an earlier post, I wasn’t ga-ga about Obama but as a minority or person of color, I was overwhelmed and cried like a baby during his speech.  But I could tell that my tears were different that those that flowed down and kept flowing down from the eyes of Maya Angelou, Jesse Jackson, Toni Morrison, and others. There was a time when even the idea of a black person becoming the President of the United States was absolutely inconceivable.  

Let me rephrase that in another way: The idea did not even exist.

And so maybe someday, we will see a female president, a Latino-American president, and even an Asian-American president.  Last night, my children and I plotted my kids’ path to the Presidency in 2044.  We’re not sure which kid it’ll be but here’s the crazy thing:  We talked about it and it wasn’t crazy.


Whether Obama becomes a good president, only time will tell.  But even if we disagree with HOW we get there or the methodolgy, all Americans should agree on many of our goals, right?  I appreciated this comment from this occasional blog visitor who was NOT an Obama supporter:

While I don’t support his policies, I am hopeful for a great administration.  His election is truly historic for America and represents how far we’ve come.  I hope America is again enthused and energized to make positive change and really help solve some of the world’s problems though I may disagree with the method in which they are solved.

 [Image source: No idea.  Was emailed to me. Patrick Moberg]

Filed under: family, politics, religion, ,

24 Responses

  1. great image.

    and while I love the idea that anyone can truly have the dream of being president and the symbol of opportunity that represents, I don’t think I would ever want to encourage my kids in that direction. as great as that position is and as much as I supported Obama – being president of the USA isn’t a healthy occupation. It is a sell your soul, sacrifice everything, and get worked to the bone job. It of course can be used for great good and while I appreciate that Obama is willing to do that for our country and the world, my heart breaks for his kids. I hope they are okay with giving up their daddy because others need him more.

    so maybe I’m an evil mom who is too selfish to encourage her kids to sacrifice it all for the sake of others. if that is the sort of person they are, then I will support that, but I won’t dangle the presidency as the highest form of achievement they could seek. I hope that makes sense and I’m not just rambling on about nothing…

  2. Dan says:

    there are those of us in the ‘power class’ (white male) that have beleived that this day would come and that when it did it would depend on many in our group supporting it. we’ve been responsible for much suffering as a group but many of us have been committed to accepting responsibility for our groups history and celebrate what has happened in the past 24 hours.

  3. Dan says:

    o, p.s. that is a powerful picture!

  4. Beautiful.

    It is a new day rising, and it will include a new emphasis on the Arts:

    We did it.

    Yes we did.

  5. DK says:

    “The idea did not even exist…”


  6. Rick says:

    Hey Dan – white males are in a power class? I didn’t know that I was part of a power class. Where’s my power? Dang! I hate it when I miss something like that.

  7. joann says:

    the image is by Patrick Moberg –

  8. Rusty says:

    Couple of thoughts:
    1. totally nitpicking, but as a historian, I couldn’t let this go(!): the picture above is great has fairly realistic renditions of the presidents. I couldn’t help but notice that Eisenhower and Truman are out of order. And yes, I’m the kind of nerd that notices stuff like that.

    2. @Rick: if you are a white male, you most certainly are part of the power class. And the fact that you don’t recognize it makes it that much more powerful. (my apologies if you made that comment tongue in cheek – these things are hard to detect in writing). If you’re interested, you might pick up a copy of _Divided by Faith_ by Michael O. Emerson. It’s a very quick read but incredibly important for understanding structural inequalities that we white folks usually miss.

    3. Which brings me to this. While Tuesday’s election was truly historic and rightly deserves be celebrated, I hope we don’t fool ourselves into thinking we are now a post-racial country. That somehow because a black man was elected president we have now lived up to the ideals of equality espoused at our nation’s founding. To be sure, President Obama is a start. But it is only a single step in the long journey toward true racial equality in the United States. And as gracious as McCain’s concession speech was Tuesday night, the theme that “it’s all good now” was one that was a little troubling to me. Again, a reading of Emerson’s work would be instructive on this point.

  9. chris says:

    @Eugene: tremendous post as always – and people send you the coolest stuff!

    @Rusty: thanks for clarifying that Eisenhower and Truman were out of order. It confused me as I was going through, trying to identify everyone! I also appreciated your #1 comment, which leads me to…

    @Rick: in this country you definitely have power simply by being white, and by being male. It might not be immediately noticeable to you, if you are in a context where you are constantly surrounded by people similar to you. Try this experiment: go with a person of color to a department store, and stand in the customer service line. Before either of you opens your mouth, just see if the person who waits on you looks at you as the answer person. That’s just a simple example, but it’s an insidious thing.

  10. chris says:

    oops – I meant Rusty’s #2 comment!

  11. HK says:

    Hey Pastor Eugene, funny… the other day at school, I asked my third grade students to open up their social studies book to look at the album of presidents. We went through each president, starting w/ Washington so they couldreally see just how historical this election is. It’s quite amazing.

  12. kA says:

    During Obama’s speech, I had my 2-yr old son sitting on my lap. I looked at him eye to eye, father to son, and I told him, “son, you can be anything you want” and I genuinely meant it. Man, I almost cried because I believed it for the first time.

  13. eugenecho says:

    @julie: agree. i really really wouldn’t want any of them to UNLESS they discerned a strong conviction and calling. heck, i don’t even want them to be a pastor even though two of them keep telling me they want to be pastors.

    i can’t even comprehend that kind of burden.

    @dan: thank you brother.

    @rusty: wow. nice call on the eisenhower and truman thing. i would have called it umm…had i known.

    good comment on the post-racial. it will never happen. but we are moving closer to the shalom that God intended.

  14. Dan Hauge says:

    That picture is close to a placemat that one of my friends brought over to our election night party–one of those great cheesy plastic placemats for kids, probably from the early eighties, that had little pictures of “Our American Presidents” on it. Pretty funny. Time to start making new placemats🙂

  15. Tony says:

    Rusty: That 3rd comment is exactly what I’ve been thinking. I keep on hearing so many people talking about how far we’ve gone and how we are now a “post-racial” society. While Obama’s election is a sure sign that we have come quite a long ways, I also find the sentiment of racism being a thing of the past to be quite troubling. We are most definitely not post-race… although apparently when it comes to the presidency, we are at least post facial hair! According to the picture, it has been about 18 presidents since we’ve elected a president with an awesome ‘stache. Sheesh! 🙂

  16. DC says:

    So my thoughts are a bit mixed. On one hand — there’s no question in my mind that this election result was truly historical and inspirational — (whether I agree with his specific policies or not). On the other hand, it’s not enough to simply be the first bi-racial president elect. He STILL must settle down to the real work of being president (bi-racial or not) and deliver on the expectations he’s set out for the voters. People can choose to celebrate now — but there’s a point where the racial thing must become invisible, because in the end — it should not matter.

  17. J. P. says:

    @rusty, Truman (1945–53) and Eisenhower (1953–61) are in the correct order (source).

    As a bonus, here’s an annotated “skitch” of Moberg’s illustration based on the site’s chronology:

  18. JB says:

    Rusty and JP, you are both right! Ike and Truman are out of order on the thumbnail, and in the right order if you double-click and get the larger image.

  19. craig says:

    I like this version much better =D

  20. […] a picture says a 1000 words beginning with: “inconceivable” The picture below sums up why Obama’s presidency is truly historical.  Many of us don’t really know […] […]

  21. […] as I mentioned on Eugene Cho’s blog the other day, I am uncomfortable with dangling the dream of becoming President of the USA as […]

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