Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A time for change....

Barack ObamaLast November 4 marked a memorable moment in United States history. For the first time ever, Barack Hussein Obama II, an African-American, was elected to the most powerful political position in America, and arguably the most influential position in the world...the office of President of the United States of America.

Who would have thought that we would live to see it happen? In a country where black Americans have been classed as "inferior" from the days of slavery up to the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, to sporadic incidents of racial discrimination up to the present (the Rodney King riots, the O.J. Simpson murder case), the election of an African-American as President of the United States of America represents a watershed in modern history.

In a span of less than 150 years or six generations from Abraham Lincoln's monumental Emancipation Proclamation, black Americans have slowly but surely worked themselves up from being slaves to becoming prominent leaders and members of society, finally culminating in one being elected to the Presidency.

Am I happy to see a black man become President of the United States?

Definitely. No question about it.

Am I happy to see Barack Obama become President of the United States?

To be honest, I'm not so sure.

Am I happy to see the Democrats retake the White House, and for that matter, the United States Senate and Congress?

I'm not so sure either.

Of course, I'm not deluding myself. In the grand scheme of things, my opinion in these issues hardly matter. I'm not an American, much less a Democrat or a Republican, but nonetheless, I have been closely following the campaign and the election, close enough to actually feel as if I have a personal stake in it. Of course, with the global impact of the current economic recession, I probably do, even in the far off backwater country I call my home.

Being 36 years old, I'm old enough to be actually capable of relating to the conservative ideals the Republican party stands for, even if John McCain, or his campaign, didn't seem conservative enough. At 36, I'm also still young enough to retain some of my idealism and desire for change, and Barack Obama, if nothing else, is a living, breathing paragon of change, not only for American politics, or for the United States, but for the whole world.

Truth be told, the world is not the same place we used to know. Globalization has made possible the rise and fall of economies if there is even just one weak link in the chain. We live in a post 9/11 world, where terrorism knows no bounds. The threat of global warming is ever present, thanks to humanity's uncaring attitudes toward the environment. Simply put, it's a mess out there.

While conservatism may have its place, the present doesn't seem to be the right time for it. It's no longer about simply maintaining the status quo but changing the way we think, the way we do things, the way we plan for the future, and truth be told, the Democrats are far better at espousing change than the Republicans, probably because the Democrat's leanings towards social liberalism, what I tend to call "soft" socialism.

Barack Obama may not necessarily be the best man for the job. He may not necessarily have the best qualifications (Hillary Clinton, to my mind, is more qualified), or the most experience (John McCain without a doubt has more experience), but he was at the right time at the right place. Many talk of the race card as being an important issue in the elections and it is, but the most likely scenario is that Obama won because he is black, and not in spite of his being black.

It begs the question: If he was white, would he still have won? Frankly, if he was white, he probably wouldn't have been in the running for President as he would very likely have lost the primaries, and America would have had its first woman President, Hillary Rodham Clinton. History would have been made as well, and Democrats would probably still end up controlling the Senate and Congress, thanks to widespread anti-Bush sentiments.

The bottom line is simply that Americans want change, are desperate for it really, given today's difficult times. Unfortunately for John McCain, Sarah Palin and the rest of the Republicans, change is something the Republican Party can't seem to seriously offer.

If you think about it, nothing seems to represent change in America better than a black man being President, and as the last week's headlines will tell you, the American people got it, and got it in spades.

President-Elect Obama has made a lot of promises, and he will be hard-pressed to keep those promises, not to mention the eyes of the entire world will be on him, hanging on everything he says and does. He certainly has the potential to be one of America's greatest Presidents, but of course he also has the potential to be one of its worst, if he fails to live up to expectations.

It's a time for change, and with Obama leading the United States, change may very well be on the horizon. Will it be for the better, or for the worse? Only time will tell.





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