Hope springs eternal, even in politics.
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Barack Obama's historic 2008 presidential campaign touched on all the themes I have covered throughout my career and all of the layers of meaning that run through black politics. Ambition. Aspiration. Fear. Folly. It was all on display as Obama boarded the roller coaster that ultimately led to the White House.
I learned how to cover race riots by telephone. They didn't pay me enough at my first newspaper job to venture onto the grounds of South Boston High School when bricks were being thrown. Instead, I would telephone the headmaster and ask him to relay to me the number of broken chairs in the cafeteria each day.
I recognize that it often serves competitors best to talk past each other - especially when you are trying to claim the fleeting attentions of voters on a debate stage or on social media. But think how much more clarity we could get if the people who wanted to be president clearly explained why he or she is the better choice.
If there is anything good to be said about my particular line of work, it's that we get to tell people the news they need to hear, and to put it in context. To get to that - for one hour every night on the 'PBS NewsHour,' and for an additional half-hour every Friday night on 'Washington Week,' we have to slog through a lot of tough stuff.
Once they have actually left office, we seem to grow fonder of our ex-presidents - and they of each other. That's why so many sighed in approval at Michelle Obama's public display of affection with George W. Bush at last month's dedication of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.