|Lessons from Obama’s success |
Friday, November 7 2008
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THE EDITOR: If there was an inter-galactic assembly of leaders being called on a distant planet, the likely leader from planet earth would be US President-elect Barack Obama. Such is the inspirational and charismatic effect this leader radiates not only for Americans but for people everywhere who are now brimming with anxiety and varied expectations.
Obama’s victory is historical in several ways, chief of which is the surreal fact that he is the first black man to ever be elected to the helm of the USA. Despite his high intellect, public appeal and relative calm in asserting his ideologies and plans to address critical issues there are millions of people who are yet to come to terms with the dawn of a brown skinned US President – only in the movies.
Fathered by a black Kenyan with a white American mother, Obama embodies the perfect mix as a catalyst for unity and the abolishment of racial division and prejudice. He is as black as he is white and yet considered to be a black man in an era where callous labelling still exists. Obama’s calls for unity coupled with his phenomenal success conjure a new level of maturity and consciousness for especially the American electorate.
The irony is that it took the young voters to teach their older counterparts an important lesson. The time had come to dispel unjust traditions in choosing a leader where skin colour was given precedence over fairness, brilliance, public appeal and practical strategies for resolving major issues. The dawn of a new day has truly arrived.
Indeed, the US elections had its fair share of smear campaigning, evidenced by the attacks on Obama’s character.
These were fuelled by his innocent associations that included at least one proven terrorist and a preacher who indulged in anti-American rhetoric. Still, here in TT we must also recognise and adopt some of the good that came out of the US elections.
Apart from the genuine call for unity by Obama in his inspirational victory speech, Senator Mc Cain’s concession speech was also quite noteworthy. He promised to work with Obama and called the new President-elect his own President. This came moments after dismissing unsavoury slurs from sore campaign losers that punctuated the most gracious speech in history – a speech from a man who Obama basically heralded as a true statesman.
So in the end both men praised each other and look forward to working together at some point in order to procure the common goal of a better USA. In essence, President–elect Obama and Senator Mc Cain harbour no overt bitterness towards each other. They showed a level of maturity that knows when campaigning is over – an understanding that Democrats and Republicans must unite to effectively address the floundering economy, foreign policy, security, health care, education and all other critical business.
Sadly, TT’s politicians appear to be devoid of such political maturity, since an Opposition Leader will generally not regard the Prime Minister as his own Prime Minister.