Obama reaction is well justified
Sir – Unlike your correspondent Tony Wilder (WHT, November 19), I believe something remarkable has been achieved with the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the next president of the United States. From what I have read about Mr Obama, and from my
Sir - Unlike your correspondent Tony Wilder (WHT, November 19), I believe something remarkable has been achieved with the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the next president of the United States.
From what I have read about Mr Obama, and from my knowledge of the American political system in general and presidential elections in particular, come January 20, 2009, Mr Obama will become the president who was not supposed to be.
In my view, this achievement defies simple explanation.
Try these for size:
n Mr Obama was born to a white American mother and a black African father in 1961. This was at the height of state-sanctioned racial discrimination and segregation against 'people of colour'.
In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr led a demand to end this legalised discrimination and segregation.
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To think that, within 25 years, Americans would heed King's call to judge their future president 'by the content of his character rather than the colour of his skin', is simply remarkable;
n Mr Obama was elected to the US Senate in 2004. Four years later, he was elected to the country's highest office.
Such a significant achievement in such a short period of time calls for considered analysis and acknowledgement;
n During the presidential elections, Mr Obama decided to eschew state-funding and, instead, opted to raise needed funds from grass-root supporters.
I understand he raised millions of dollars from the ordinary people of the US and a record amount at that.
As well as bucking the tread and relying on the millions of Americans who would be affected by his administration's decisions once he is in office rather than a few, large donations from corporate America (money for public policy influence, anyone?), Mr Obama has proved the general public can provide financial support to political parties if the public believe in the causes and options on offer.
One lives in hope such bold, principled steps become the rule rather than the exception;
n In 2008 America, parents and carers can look their children in the eye and, hand on heart, tell them they can be whatever they want to be - including sitting in the Oval Office - as rightful, democratically-elected occupiers rather than just for the show, as long as they put their mind to it.
Through the election of Mr Obama, the fabled American Dream has been proved a reality in the eyes of millions, if not billions of people.
One wonders how much longer parents and carers of children in the UK have to wait before they can confidently tell their children 'you only need to work hard enough and be good at what you do and you will achieve your dreams'.
n In the Kenyan village where Obama's father was born, local reports suggests plans are in hand to finally connect households to the national electricity grid. Whether one subscribes to the 'butterfly fluttering in the Amazon forest' theory or not, it is safe to suggest the quality of life of those Kenyans will be improved due to their village's connection with the next occupier of the White House.
Although none of the above may all be earth-moving stuff, they are, I believe, still significant enough for folks to have an 'almost hysterical reaction' to Mr Obama ascending to the most powerful elected position in the free world.
I do, however, agree with Tony Wilder that, with the elections now won, Mr Obama needs to prove that 'he can!'.