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Barack Obama by BenHeine Barack Obama by BenHeine
© Ben Heine || Facebook || Twitter ||

Sketch on paper (watercolor), older work.

For more information about my artwork:

Obama is the change that America has tried to hide

Only one candidate offers the radical departure for the 21st century the US needs, for its own sake and the rest of the world's

By Alice Walker

I have come home from a long stay in Mexico to find – because of the presidential campaign, and especially because of the Obama/Clinton race for the Democratic nomination - a new country existing alongside the old. On any given day we, collectively, become the Goddess of the Three Directions and can look back into the past, look at ourselves just where we are, and take a glance, as well, into the future. It is a space with which I am familiar.

When I was born in 1944 my parents lived on a middle Georgia plantation that was owned by a white distant relative, Miss May Montgomery. (During my childhood it was necessary to address all white girls as "Miss" when they reached the age of twelve.) She would never admit to this relationship, of course, except to mock it. Told by my parents that several of their children would not eat chicken skin she responded that of course they would not. No Montgomerys would.

My parents and older siblings did everything imaginable for Miss May. They planted and raised her cotton and corn, fed and killed and processed her cattle and hogs, painted her house, patched her roof, ran her dairy, and, among countless other duties and responsibilities my father was her chauffeur, taking her anywhere she wanted to go at any hour of the day or night. She lived in a large white house with green shutters and a green, luxuriant lawn: not quite as large as Tara of Gone With the Wind fame, but in the same style.

We lived in a shack without electricity or running water, under a rusty tin roof that let in wind and rain. Miss May went to school as a girl. The school my parents and their neighbors built for us was burned to the ground by local racists who wanted to keep ignorant their competitors in tenant farming. During the Depression, desperate to feed his hardworking family, my father asked for a raise from ten dollars a month to twelve. Miss May responded that she would not pay that amount to a white man and she certainly wouldn't pay it to a nigger. That before she'd pay a nigger that much money she'd milk the dairy cows herself.

When I look back, this is part of what I see. I see the school bus carrying white children, boys and girls, right past me, and my brothers, as we trudge on foot five miles to school. Later, I see my parents struggling to build a school out of discarded army barracks while white students, girls and boys, enjoy a building made of brick. We had no books; we inherited the cast off books that "Jane" and "Dick" had previously used in the all-white school that we were not, as black children, permitted to enter.

The year I turned fifty, one of my relatives told me she had started reading my books for children in the library in my home town. I had had no idea – so kept from black people it had been – that such a place existed. To this day knowing my presence was not wanted in the public library when I was a child I am highly uncomfortable in libraries and will rarely, unless I am there to help build, repair, refurbish or raise money to keep them open, enter their doors.

When I joined the freedom movement in Mississippi in my early twenties it was to come to the aid of sharecroppers, like my parents, who had been thrown off the land they'd always known, the plantations, because they attempted to exercise their "democratic" right to vote. I wish I could say white women treated me and other black people a lot better than the men did, but I cannot. It seemed to me then and it seems to me now that white women have copied, all too often, the behavior of their fathers and their brothers, and in the South, especially in Mississippi, and before that, when I worked to register voters in Georgia, the broken bottles thrown at my head were gender free.

I made my first white women friends in college; they were women who loved me and were loyal to our friendship, but I understood, as they did, that they were white women and that whiteness mattered. That, for instance, at Sarah Lawrence, where I was speedily inducted into the Board of Trustees practically as soon as I graduated, I made my way to the campus for meetings by train, subway and foot, while the other trustees, women and men, all white, made their way by limo. Because, in our country, with its painful history of unspeakable inequality, this is part of what whiteness means. I loved my school for trying to make me feel I mattered to it, but because of my relative poverty I knew I could not.

I am a supporter of Obama because I believe he is the right person to lead the country at this time. He offers a rare opportunity for the country and the world to start over, and to do better. It is a deep sadness to me that many of my feminist white women friends cannot see him. Cannot see what he carries in his being. Cannot hear the fresh choices toward Movement he offers. That they can believe that millions of Americans –black, white, yellow, red and brown - choose Obama over Clinton only because he is a man, and black, feels tragic to me.

When I have supported white people, men and women, it was because I thought them the best possible people to do whatever the job required. Nothing else would have occurred to me. If Obama were in any sense mediocre, he would be forgotten by now. He is, in fact, a remarkable human being, not perfect but humanly stunning, like King was and like Mandela is. We look at him, as we looked at them, and are glad to be of our species. He is the change America has been trying desperately and for centuries to hide, ignore, kill. The change America must have if we are to convince the rest of the world that we care about people other than our (white) selves.

True to my inner Goddess of the Three Directions however, this does not mean I agree with everything Obama stands for. We differ on important points probably because I am older than he is, I am a woman and person of three colors, (African, Native American, European), I was born and raised in the American South, and when I look at the earth's people, after sixty-four years of life, there is not one person I wish to see suffer, no matter what they have done to me or to anyone else; though I understand quite well the place of suffering, often, in human growth.

I want a grown-up attitude toward Cuba, for instance, a country and a people I love; I want an end to the embargo that has harmed my friends and their children, children who, when I visit Cuba, trustingly turn their faces up for me to kiss. I agree with a teacher of mine, Howard Zinn, that war is as objectionable as cannibalism and slavery; it is beyond obsolete as a means of improving life. I want an end to the on-going war immediately and I want the soldiers to be encouraged to destroy their weapons and to drive themselves out of Iraq.

I want the Israeli government to be made accountable for its behavior towards the Palestinians, and I want the people of the United States to cease acting like they don't understand what is going on. All colonization, all occupation, all repression basically looks the same, whoever is doing it. Here our heads cannot remain stuck in the sand; our future depends of our ability to study, to learn, to understand what is in the records and what is before our eyes. But most of all I want someone with the self-confidence to talk to anyone, "enemy" or "friend," and this Obama has shown he can do. It is difficult to understand how one could vote for a person who is afraid to sit and talk to another human being. When you vote you are making someone a proxy for yourself; they are to speak when, and in places, you cannot. But if they find talking to someone else, who looks just like them, human, impossible, then what good is your vote?

It is hard to relate what it feels like to see Mrs. Clinton (I wish she felt self-assured enough to use her own name) referred to as "a woman" while Barack Obama is always referred to as "a black man." One would think she is just any woman, colorless, race-less, past-less, but she is not. She carries all the history of white womanhood in America in her person; it would be a miracle if we, and the world, did not react to this fact. How dishonest it is, to attempt to make her innocent of her racial inheritance.

I can easily imagine Obama sitting down and talking, person to person, with any leader, woman, man, child or common person, in the world, with no baggage of past servitude or race supremacy to mar their talks. I cannot see the same scenario with Mrs. Clinton who would drag into Twenty-First Century American leadership the same image of white privilege and distance from the reality of others' lives that has so marred our country's contacts with the rest of the world.

And yes, I would adore having a woman president of the United States. My choice would be Representative Barbara Lee, who alone voted in Congress five years ago not to make war on Iraq. That to me is leadership, morality, and courage; if she had been white I would have cheered just as hard. But she is not running for the highest office in the land, Mrs. Clinton is. And because Mrs. Clinton is a woman and because she may be very good at what she does, many people, including some younger women in my own family, originally favored her over Obama. I understand this, almost. It is because, in my own nieces' case, there is little memory, apparently, of the foundational inequities that still plague people of color and poor whites in this country. Why, even though our family has been here longer than most North American families – and only partly due to the fact that we have Native American genes – we very recently, in my lifetime, secured the right to vote, and only after numbers of people suffered and died for it.

When I offered the word "Womanism" many years ago, it was to give us a tool to use, as feminist women of color, in times like these. These are the moments we can see clearly, and must honor devotedly, our singular path as women of color in the United States. We are not white women and this truth has been ground into us for centuries, often in brutal ways. But neither are we inclined to follow a black person, man or woman, unless they demonstrate considerable courage, intelligence, compassion and substance. I am delighted that so many women of color support Barack Obama -and genuinely proud of the many young and old white women and men who do.

Imagine, if he wins the presidency we will have not one but three black women in the White House; one tall, two somewhat shorter; none of them carrying the washing in and out of the back door. The bottom line for most of us is: With whom do we have a better chance of surviving the madness and fear we are presently enduring, and with whom do we wish to set off on a journey of new possibility? In other words, as the Hopi elders would say: Who do we want in the boat with us as we head for the rapids? Who is likely to know how best to share the meager garden produce and water? We are advised by the Hopi elders to celebrate this time, whatever its adversities.

We have come a long way, Sisters, and we are up to the challenges of our time. One of which is to build alliances based not on race, ethnicity, color, nationality, sexual preference or gender, but on Truth. Celebrate our journey. Enjoy the miracle we are witnessing. Do not stress over its outcome. Even if Obama becomes president, our country is in such ruin it may well be beyond his power to lead us toward rehabilitation. If he is elected however, we must, individually and collectively, as citizens of the planet, insist on helping him do the best job that can be done; more, we must insist that he demand this of us. It is a blessing that our mothers taught us not to fear hard work. Know, as the Hopi elders declare: The river has its destination. And remember, as poet June Jordan and Sweet Honey in the Rock never tired of telling us: We are the ones we have been waiting for.


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morbiusx33 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Ya vol mein herr!
Willersmunk Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013
Obama Screams At The Podium: I AM A RETARD! I WILL RUIN THIS COUNTRY! I WILL KILL YOU ALL! Now, about health care.
Waracki99 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2013
Obama aka change fo US? Well, bad joke.
MGraphicDesign Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
QueenOfCatsX3 Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Iris19911 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012
I can therefore not how the people in the U.S. is up and running over nothing it's just a president and as long as america existing there will be continued to pop up multiple presidents. And all the other president I've ever heard of is better than the other perhaps in the future, yet one that is more worse than the other. I am been dropped pleased that I am not American
Kellyn87 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2011
I love Obama he will get my votin 2012. He is awsome
stonedmoose Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
yes we can!
YaoChina Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
DancingCorpse1000 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is a really good picture, but Obama is the worst president ever. No offense, my opinion.

But I like the colors you did with this. You've captured him quite nicely. P:
josharts529 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
my opinion too
Urikson Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2009
Obama - fierce against his friends, sheepish to his enemies.
Kairu-Hakubi Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow.. he looks really angry and hateful in that picture O.o I was surprised to read that you're with him.
Gargumshalk Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2009
Obama is victorious!
the picture's great,
but i still don't like Obama.
caw-caw Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
So... This picture is intended to portray Obama as a Russian Communist.

I like it.

But... I know you didn't intend that,

So... Too bad.

Freudian slips aren't only verbal.
Stevenartist Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2008  Professional Artist
sig heil!!! I bet that I am the only artist in America that doesn't support this dirty commie! Or is he a fascist? Only time will tell...
xXdaughterxwarXx Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
Reptillicus Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
Sliversun Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2008
Dude! Obama wins! Yay!
jacktheabyssinian Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2008
In may I praised this picture. Now, on the eve of the American election, I still maintain that this is the most artful and heroic portrait of Barack Obama seen on DA. And yes, I am hoping that Mr. Obama wins tomorrow night.
DominantDoberman Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2008   Photographer
looks good :) I support Obama :thumbsup:
Denir Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2008
Thank you for drawing this Ben :)

Im no american, but i still urge the american people to vote for him! I belive that he is more or less the last hope for america in this time ...
MJ0 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2008
Hi, cool work! I just started doing political cartooning and posting here! I'd love your input/criticism...

My political comic blog is at...

MJ Offen
antimyth Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008   Digital Artist
Yes!!!! Finally an Obama one. Sweet. From my hope to yours, awesome job. ~Chris
Storm4life Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2008
Excellent rendition
floriaiglenoir Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2008  Hobbyist
...every time I am amazed by your great talent in drawing such excellent portraits!^-^:)
Mangaka-sama Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008
Wow thats awesome I support Obama Hes sure to be Presidant!
Finally we might have a man or different race and someone with beliefs like
JFK,Obama 08!!!
Juny Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2008
What a wonderful reading I just had, and what a great picture!
prolilonezforever Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008
Sorry Ben, I will have to disagree with you on this one. Obama is all campaign and no policy. I do not think that he will be good for this country. He states he wants change. And yes he talks a good talk. But he hasnt even spoke about what his plans are for a "change".
All in all, you have done a great job with the picture.
Ps} All the canidates are poor. I am having a hard time deciding who I want to have nominated. It's rather sad actually. I am strict when it comes to voicing my opinion (voting). Yet, I might just not express my vote this election. =(
ChakraHeathen Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2008
Believe me, I know that kind of anxiety about not liking any of the candidates...
prolilonezforever Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008
Goodness, yeah! There are a lot of ppl that I have come across who are confused on which person to support. This election is the worst by far! It is a shame really that I will not be voting this time. That is absolutely against my views. However, I wont be part of voting for one who could potentially harm this country even more so than it already is.
Tiemiosho Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008
Obama is a mystery man. He's a lot of talk, but nobody knows how he works. You think people would be all over the whole issue with his preacher.

No, they got all over Romney because he's Mormon. =p
InpuUpUaut Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2008  Student General Artist
Hope I am wrong but I do not think he will change anything... President is not the master, just the face...
cascardi Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2008
obama's goals seems to be the same as every other person running for president in the states - an eventual north american union, which will eventually lead to a "new world order" - a world-wide government body. all presidential candidates are part of a discreet party composed of various world powers that wants to achieve this goal.
Simounet Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Tellement représentatif du personnage !

AkamaruFoxHound Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
YES! he is indeed that change that America needs!
ninjacat11 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
An amazing tribute to an amazing politician.
mayu Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008  Professional General Artist
Obama is a member of the Free masons, he voted for the war in Iraq and is also Voting for the new world order. Hurray, we will finally be fully jailed within the government.
ninjacat11 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
mayu Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008  Professional General Artist
50% of the obama voters only vote because hes black :S
Mode-Hex Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
far out man . are you making a book or something ? just the sight of all that text underneath the art - your mind !
pyrobabe2010 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008   Photographer
I love the power you put into him.

Wonderful work.

You should email it to him :nod: :giggle:
Wandering-Thinker Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
Well, I am not going to jump too quickly at who will actually do a better job in the end. So I am all for the best man (or woman) for the job.

But of course I am leaning a bit toward Obama :D.
tiamat9 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
Superbly detailed and colored. I love the pose and expression. Great composition.
wespose Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
Change , change ,change..Yes we can ,-change America into the North American Union. We can Heal the World -with globalism.
He is a member of the CFR and Trilateral Comission..A NY post article ran about how he was related to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Barack has stated " We need give America a stake in the New world order". I'm truly sorry but hes not what hes made out to be, and his agenda is not to rescue America by ending racism.
El-Abuso-Capital Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
nice :nod:
emey Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
WOW!!! This is great ON TIME BRAVO EFFORT.....:peace::clap:
VOTE for OBAMA:peace: The NEXT MR.USA......:headbang:
WELL DONE BEN.....:dance:
Thebuild Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008
Great work!

Though obviously I can't vote, I have been paying attention to the election I really hope he wins.
Marius-Creb Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Excellent work, as always.

I support Barack and what he stands for, but I haven't given up on Hillary yet.
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Obama by THELIGHT777


Submitted on
March 31, 2008
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