After living in America for 8 years under the rule of George W. Bush, it’s funny to find myself trying to be hopeful. I keep having to remind myself of the amazing thing we Americans did the other day. A great many of us were expecting a neck-and-neck battle to last for days or even weeks, but in the end, American voters really, reeeeally
wanted change right now. Perhaps, once Bush has abdicated the Oval Office and Obama takes his oath, I’ll have an easier time accepting that things have changed. But what does change really mean to the US and to world?
Personally, I think it boils down to one simple thing. Race. No, I don’t think racism is dead. No, I don’t think a black man can be a better leader than a white guy and I sure as hell don’t believe the other way around, either. For 232 years, the USA has been led by a white guy. In the great scheme of things, we’re all supposed to
believe skin color doesn’t matter, but after two centuries of American presidents, I think it matters a LOT.
In one of our Founding Documents here in the US, “We the People of the United States” agree that “All Men Are Created Equal.” Electing a man with dark skin finally makes this statement in our Declaration of Independence mean something. For over two hundred years it’s just been words on a page written by men who, themselves, owned blacks as slaves. Now, finally, America seems to mean what it says (at least in one way).
Barack Obama will bring a perspective to the country that no other white president could. Being raised in a white family while being black, he will know what both experiences are like. He’s gone from literal rags to riches. Now, we hope, he will apply these life lessons to the job of American President. But there will be obstacles. He still has pressures from big business and the special interests to deal with. He’s also inheriting an economy that by most standards is in dire straights. If that weren’t enough he’s got American troops scattered around the globe leaving the
American military fatigued and stretched thin. God forbid there should be another 911-style attack on American soil.
He’s in a position where he’ll have no choice but to work with the rest of the world to solve America’s problems. George W. Bush has left us in a situation that I don’t think we can fix on our own unless we withdraw completely from the rest of the planet and I seriously doubt we’d do that. Thankfully, Obama comes across as an entirely reasonable person, willing to talk, willing to understand and willing to work things out. To me, he doesn’t seem like a “with us or against us” kind of guy. Compared to the Republicans that are on their way out, his perspective will seem incredibly unique.
If the American people are right, that unique perspective will serve him well in dealing with the rest of the Earth, as well as the citizens of the United States. We can only hope.
Oh, hey! I did it! I hoped! 🙂