November 4th, 2008 was a monumental day. A black man became the leader of the 'free world' and the president of arguably the most powerful nation on earth. I supported him, because he was the best candidate and I admired his vision, character, personality, ideas and ideals. As the results came in, I thanked God for the impending victory and the lack of 'surprises'. The last thing I could handle was to have the opinion polls heading into Nov 4th say one thing and provide a different end result, especially when it would be going against the outcome I so much wanted to happen. Obama said 'Yes, we can' and yes, 'we' have won the election. Barack made it clear though, that the change he'd preached for more than a year wasn't here yet and that we needed to work hard to see it come to fruition. Yes, we can but we are not done yet.
I received a text from a friend saying: "Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King (MLK) could walk, MLK walked so Obama could run, and now Obama has run so that our children can fly". Well, following this trend, there is probably some one person out there who is going to fly (like really high) in the future abi? We'll see. A lot of us are celebrating this Obama victory as a victory for Black people all over. It is. Black kids would learn and work harder now with this monumental achievement. Black kids, especially in the US, would aspire to become better leaders, and we have an Obama to line up alongside the 'stars' like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Jay-Z. We will soon run out of excuses of why we cannot. Those three words are ringing true from Compton, LA to Accra, Ghana - Yes, we can. Ghana's Joy 99.7 FM played the famous 'Yes, we can, song' by Will.I.Am at its Super morning show on the morning of November 5th. Obamamania is alive in predominantly Black communities all over the world.
People like to say that Obama won the election because Sarah Palin and George Bush lost the election for John McCain. Come on now! Couldn't Obama win it on his own merit? America was presented with two choices and they decided. In fact, Obama was presented as a choice only two years ago, he was unpopular and new. We have seen him run a campaign for the ages and shown his character and knowledge to the world. It's no fluke, countless songs were made and books written about him. The Republican party tried to show him as the Anti-Christ, a terrorist, etc, but all those schemes failed. My friends :-), the force of good prevailed in this election. The 'good' candidate won this election, not the one who was most popular or familiar, not the one who run the 'best' campaign, not the one who could buy the most votes. Obama inspired people to be part of the political process, he inspired people to sit up and talk up the issues, he inspired people to be active in the matters that affect them. He didn't need all the experience and years of being on television to do it, all he needed was a message and a personality to back it. Not just any message folks, but a good message.
This victory is not for Black people only, it's for all of us. It shows that we can rise above the odds, obstacles and challenges to make the right or best choice. Some people may argue that Obama was not the right choice, in fact he was the left choice. Wink wink. Anyway, in a world which has so much wrong with it, he was the only choice left. I hear people in Ghana sending text messages saying 'anything is possible' and Obama's victory has given many people a 'can do' attitude. We cannot settle for less, because we can do more. Obama has had to be excellent and he passed the test with flying colours. We may not face the same circumstances all the time, but we have more evidence that we can achieve our dreams.
History has been made but his story is still being written. I have a lot of confidence in Obama's ability to fix the American economy, improve health care, reform education for the better, help America fulfill its energy needs while preserving our environment and restoring confidence in Americans and the American dream. I also want him to work to make America a country that is respected all over the world and an America that does not exploit other countries to its own benefit. Obama is at the zenith, he's the leader of the 'free world'. This is not the first time a black man has been a president somewhere, there are many who have gone before him. But, they were never 'free'. These black men fought and won independence for their people, many in Obama-like ways, but they and their people are still not 'free', they are neo-colonised. Obama's achievement is nice, but for myself as an African, it's probably not the greatest thing ever.
I would love for Obama to begin to break the chains that bind some countries to poverty while others keep on progressing. As we've seen recently, I don't even know if I can call that 'progress' progress anymore. Can Obama be such a wonderful president and leader that even the terrorists who want to destroy America and its allies find new agenda for their money? Is that impossible? Obama is a diplomat and he preaches diplomacy at every point. The right-wingers like to fault him for some of the stances he takes, but I believe he will take the best possible stance when the situation presents itself. His messages of inclusivity have won him an election, we'll see how it fares with a red-state and blue-state America. He is the grassroots' hero. Despise his Robin-Hoodness or 'socialist' tendencies, he's just looking out for the people who need his services most. Obama has a presidential term to see through, I hope he excels in every way possible.
When I grow up, I want to be like Barack Obama, especially when it comes to choosing words or great speeches. On Nov, 4th at Grant Park in Chicago he said, "This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you." His whole campaign has been about 'you', about someone other than him, about all of us. I remember watching a couple of Obama and Hillary rallies, and the difference I found between the two of them was that Hillary talked about what she was going to do and herself while Obama's message was about 'you'. Right there, I knew Barack Hussein Obama was special and that selflessness is what I admire so much about him. Earlier tonight, I was wondering, people may want to do great things and a lot of good for as many people as they can do it for, and that's selflessness. But, if per say, Obama does want to be this selfless but he wants to be the one to make this change happen or become that great person and ultimately the credit, isn't that selfish? Is there a balance of selfishness and selflessness when it comes to leadership?
I am so happy right now. It's not about Obama being a Kenyan, or African or Black, but it's nice. Kenya did declare a public holiday though in celebration but I guess it's not in the psyche of America to do the same. There is a Senator Beer popularly called Obama in Kenya already, and y'all know how much Kenyans like to drink that 'pombe'. This is truly a victory for everyone, Obama got the landslide victory he deserved. As he has run, now we (all) can fly. He wasn't just a celebrity, he was an inspiration. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We just don't need leaders who will ask for our votes so that they can fill a position. We need leaders who can believe in us and rally us on to be better. Like Barack Obama said - This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time.
PS: I wrote a couple of past articles about Obama, you can read them below, in case you missed them.
My thoughts on Obama, Obamamania and the 'hottest' son of an African
I don't know how to name this blog entry, but it's about Obama