Monday, November 3, 2008

Dreams from his Father

Tomorrow is historic, regardless of the result of the election. America will either have its first non-white president or non-male vice-president. It will be the first time in more than a generation that a senator will be elected President and it will be almost 100 years since the last time neither a sitting president or vice-president will have their names on the ballot. It will be the first time in almost 200 years that the winner will assume office on the heels of consecutive two-term presidencies. And more, even almost mischievously, it will be the first time that the US will have a president who was not born in the land mass traditionally recognised as the United States of America.

Hardly surprising, I'm going all-in for Barack Obama. Not that I live under any misconceptions that an Obama presidency will cause the Bush turds to suddenly smell like roses. But that I believe that if anyone gets it, it's Obama. He's educated, a child on the tapering edge of the baby boom and the tonic that America needs if it hopes to regain respect and standing among other nations in the world.

He's also liberal and progressive. Words that the right have demonised, but which have been embraced by Western European societies to advance their civilizations by leaps and bounds, while leaving the New World behind. He supports the rights of minorities, the rights of women, is a supporter of stem cell research and doesn't believe that global warming at the hands of humans is a myth. He supports a tax code that will bring relief to the middle class. And importantly, he will be able to appoint judges that can balance a conservative leaning Supreme Court. But you know all this. So why reiterate it?

Well, for one, there's never much harm in overstating positives. But the real reason I restated it is because they're the reasons I'd like to see Obama become president. Not because he's half-black, or his campaign is historic or he's the less worse alternative to a potential Palin presidency (knocks on wood, revives my dying 4 leaf clover and does a rain dance). Because he IS already all of these things. It's because I support his stands and his policies.

And that brings me to hypocritical Trinis. It brings me to the ones who, a year to the DATE of this US election, had the opportunity to vote for change. To hope and believe that things could be better. To (use a quote sent recently from a good friend) see things for what they COULD be and not as they are. Because it's these same people who now parade around beating their chests for Obama. They flood the airwaves voicing their support for his historic candidacy. And for what reason, other than the color of his skin? Could they name a single Obama policy that they agree with? As a matter of fact, I'm sure these Manning loving, holier than thou, Bible-quoting types would disagree with the #1 ranked most liberal Senator and his #3 ranked running mate on issues of abortion, gay rights and embryonic stem cell research.

It's simply racism repackaged and a dearth of objectivity and constancy on their part. It's not sour grapes. Our elections are done and dusted, at least for another 4 years. But it speaks to our political immaturity that we can support the candidate professing change in a foreign land, while our own Rome burned and we twiddled our thumbs while staining our index fingers for the status quo.

But tomorrow night, by all accounts, will be Barack's night. Whether he gets to 270 early on, if at all, is left to be seen. But his campaign has broken barriers and given people a reason to be energised. It has levelled the competition and organised its supporters in unprecedented fashion. And come tomorrow night, the coronation of audacious hope will signal the end of the beginning, as he inherits a land broken, a people more in need now than they have been for over 70 years and a world looking towards him for guidance in the face of global uncertainty.

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