Wednesday, 5 November 2008

America that we can trust

Today the United States of America woke up a proud and hopeful America. You can feel relief, hope, and utter happiness in the eyes of the people walking in the streets, smiling for no specific reason, proud of being Americans, for the first time in so long. In many areas of the world, a similar degree of optimism is seen and felt. The very fact that Barack Obama has won the elections inspired hope and dignity in so many people around the world. African Americans cry with happiness, seeing the realization of the Luther Dream coming true. But not only black Americans are the ones rejoicing; students, women, white people, immigrants and minorities, from scholars to simple cab drivers; almost every American is rejoicing today, at least with the end of dark years of fear and poisonous hatred.

Yet, it is disappointing to simply be happy because a ‘black’ man won the elections. While many people might have voted for/against Obama because of the color of his skin, it is whom he is, what he is intending to do, his beliefs and his plans; these are the things that matter: to actually believe in the man, because he is worth it, and not only because he is the first African American to ever be elected as the President of the United States. Many of the reports I have watched yesterday revolved around the dream of the black people of America to finally get their rights back, and be compensated for long years of discrimination, inequality and slavery. While is this all true, yet what must not be forgotten is the fact that Obama is not the President of black Americans, but all Americans. It is as if the reversal of the race issue is taking place, which can still stand as an obstacle for Obama with his color eclipsing his character and potential. I believe he still has to cross this barrier, with his deeds and the history he is to be making.

One of the most defining moments for me in believing the John McCain would be a disaster to the world is when he replied to a woman complaining of Obama taking the lead by saying that she cannot trust him, because he is an Arab. McCain quickly and spontaneously answered, ‘no no, Obama is a decent man’. What kind of a message would such a reply give to minorities in America, and to the rest of the world? What does it say about his foreign policy approach or the way he inherently is viewing the world around him? America and the world are in no need for such mentalities anymore, and I am relieved that Americans were conscious enough to take the right decision, in an act of democracy thriving at its very best.

The hope Obama is bringing is equally enjoyed by citizens of the world. Yet the burden he has chosen to carry is tremendous, with such a heavy legacy of despair failure and mistrust. Obama does not have the magic wand that people are expecting him to wave on his inauguration day. However, a drastic change in American policies both internally and around the world will indeed be seen; a change in rhetoric has already started, with the spark of patriotism sincerity and determination gleaming in the American streets today. For non-Americans like me, the hope has been born; of a less hateful America, a less violent and inhumane foreign policy, and a more responsible and intelligent leadership. It might be too early and too naive to say, that finally injustice in over, fear is over, and hatred is no longer there. Yet, I am hoping that in the coming years, we will be seeing an America that we can finally trust.

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