Texas Liberal

All People Matter

I’m Sorry My Late Friend, A Black Man & A Democrat, Is Not Here To See Barack Obama

I’m sorry that my late friend, Johnny Castille, a black man and a Democrat, is not here to see Barack Obama on the cusp of winning the Presidency.  

Johnny died late last year or early this year. I can’t recall the exact date. He was in his early 60’s at the time of his death.

Johnny was a sacker at my local supermarket here in Houston. He had served in Vietnam and worked at General Motors in Indiana for many years. He was retired from GM and was working at the supermarket until his retirement benefits kicked in. I don’t know if he would have ever seen those benefits given the state of GM.

Johnny was one of the first friends I made after I moved to Houston 10 years ago. He was a loyal Democrat and a good person. He had a sense of humor. While he was at first a supporter of Hillary Clinton, I’m certain he would have moved to Senator Obama as the campaign progressed.

There is a woman customer I talk to at the supermarket who was also friends with Johnny. I mentioned to her last week that I regretted Johnny was not here to see what was taking place. She said she had had the same thought, but she knew Johnny could see what was taking place.

She told me she has prayed long and hard for Senator Obama to be safe in this campaign, and that in her view he was anointed in some way.

I felt some understanding for what she was saying despite not having the same religious faith or skin color as she.

There are three weeks to go in the campaign. In honesty I wish I had a faith that would allow me the relief of prayer. I am tense over the outcome. Senator Obama offers hope that this country is not the country we have lived in for the past eight years.

Maybe we can move past some of the history that holds us back in so many ways. We’ll elect this black person and folks will see that the world does not end.

I never thought I’d see a black person as President of the United States. In three weeks we’ll see how it turns out. Win or lose on Election Day, I’m sorry Johnny is not here today. But I’m made hopeful by what I am seeing. Maybe it is possible that morning will come.

October 15, 2008 - Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. A college friend of mine passed just a few months ago, at 48 of a heart attack. He could have taken better care of his health, yes, but that made my grief no less profound to see him lying in a coffin.

    He was the most honest guy I ever knew. He saw no distinction among people of color, or gender, or class. As a result he was the most popular fellow everywhere — class president in high school, fraternity president in college (first African-American one ever). Later on we lost touch and I heard through mutual friends that he had married (a white woman, naturally) and had children and grandchildren.

    I wasn’t going to vote for Obama in the general election; he disappointed me greatly on several things by not being sufficiently progressive enough, but particularly on FISA. And living in Texas enables a person to have a bit of a clearer conscience about undervoting the presidential (or voting a third-party). But after Jerry died, it pained me to know that he wasn’t going to get to vote for the first Afocan-American president.

    So I’ll cast my ballot for him, for Obama.

    Comment by PDiddie | October 15, 2008

  2. Oh, and I’m not at all tense about the outcome.

    Comment by PDiddie | October 15, 2008

  3. Pdiddie–Glad you are on board with Mr. Obama and that you feel poitive about the outcome of the election.

    I guess I’ll have to waith until the votes are counted until I’m sure of the outcome, but I have always felt the right course was to vote for Mr. Obama and see if we could move ahead in our country.

    If Senator Obama turns out to be lousy, it might be hard to maintain much faith in our system. Our problems are quite pressing and need a helpful response from our leaders.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 16, 2008

  4. It is hard not to see this election as very significant…it is telling that a big concern about Obama is the fear that he might let us down. Makes me sad that our leaders have not all stood up.

    I do believe in prayer, and think it is appropriate in this situation, but I also see the need for hard work and smarts. It ia a very interesting year.

    Liked the post on the early elections, too.

    Comment by Melissa | October 18, 2008

  5. John Kennedy said in this life His work must truly be our own.

    Thanks for the kind comment.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 18, 2008

  6. Let me first say that I only started reading your blog today, and I definitely like what I am reading. I live in a small, solidly Republican area, and it is good to see that there are blue voters in Texas. I have become increasingly interested in Texas politics lately, especially from the good ol’ days, when Texas voted Democratic. That being said, I am too young to remember much of what she did, but for the past few weeks, I have had this overwhelming sense of “if only Barbara Jordan could see this.” I wish we had more politicians like her today to stand up (or sit, in her case) and speak up for minorities and against what has happened to our Constitution in recent years. I think she would have liked Senator Obama.

    Comment by Tiffani Ellis | October 21, 2008

  7. Ms. Ellis–Thank you so much for your nice comment and for reading the blog.I think Ms. Jordan would have lved to see Mr. Obama. That’s a good point you make in bringinr her up at this time in history.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 22, 2008

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