Wednesday, 21 January 2009

On this day

Today is the first real day of a new era. This morning, in the White House, Barak Obama woke up as President of the United States of America. A man with lots of labels, but with whom the stereotypes fail. President. Democrat. A real African-American - son of an American woman and a Kenyan man - half African, half American. A black man who does not share the heritage of most black Americans, he is not the decendent of slaves. A politician who fought his campaign without playing the race card (much to the disgust of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was reported to be accusing Obama of not being black enough). The world will never be quite the same place again.

While most of the rest of the planet are just grateful to be rid of Dubya and his cronies, we did not have a vote. We are only the indirect recipients of whatever actions President Obama makes. The hopes and dreams he has to satisfy are those of the American people. I don't envy him this responsibility. If he can go even halfway to tackling the problems listed in his speech, then he will have achieved more than the last half-dozen presidents put together.

Prior to the election, much was said in the press about the reaction of Americans to Obama's ethnicity. Please, God, that this Presidency will demonstrate the fulfilment of Martin Luther King's dream, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Does his colour matter? No. Does his religion matter? No. What really matters is whether he is a man of principle and conviction who thinks through the consequences of his decisions and choses the least bad option, not the most expedient. It is doing what is right that matters, not what is easy.

Good luck, Mr President.

- Pam

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