Post-Election, Obama Coffee Club Tries to Manage Expectations
By Krissah Williams Thompson
ZEBULON, N.C. -- In this old tobacco town, Barack Obama has been the subject of coffee conversation for a group of self-proclaimed geezers every morning for two years.
So what are the retired black men talking about now that their guy has won?
Gathered in the back corner of the local Hardee's, they are managing each other's expectations. Hoping that the first black president won't fail and wondering what Obama will do with all his new power.
"He's going to have to do a diverse cabinet. The Latinos supported him too. A lot of people did," said Thomas Mitchell, 74, who wore his Kangol hat flipped to the back, showing off the word Obama on the brim. "He's got to stay down the center right now and not alienate anybody."
Heads nodded. Black folks shouldn't look for him to cater to them.
Still, Val Mangum, 70, a retired correctional officer, wondered if Obama would dole out presidential hook ups.
"I bet his Aunt won't have to wait long now to get her citizenship," said Mangum, referring to one of Obama's Kenyan family members.
"Naaaaw man," Mitchell said. "He can't do that."
"Everything he does will be scrutinized," said Robert Holden, 59.
McChadeus Carpenter, 70, a retired farmer, who never gave up wearing overalls and plaid shirts, walked in late. "Man, we have to pray for him big time," he told the guys. "We need to stay on our knees. He needs our prayers."
"Amen," Mitchell said. "It's going to take at least eight years to get this straight."
They will be watching and waiting at Hardee's.
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