Profound Implications of an Obama Presidency

by Michael Oluwagbemi II

“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. I have a dream today! I have a dream that … one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” – Martin Luther King Jr. (1963)

I must confess that I stayed up all night yesterday, against all odds, gloating as the results of the Iowa Democratic Party caucus trickled in. as the night wore on, it was clear to me like many others, that hope has triumphed over the old paradigm. Like many taxpayers, I have warmed up to an Obama presidency after initial hesitation as the campaign wore on and the onset of the first primary vote drew closer. Here was a candidate offering something uniquely rare and different in politics: a new paradigm devoid of pretension and something that everyone could buy into! Indeed, Senator Barack Obama regardless of the ultimate outcome of this process has made uncommon history.

Ultimately what happened in Iowa was the triumph of dreams and hope. For many, Obama represented the ultimate dream- the dream expressed by Martin Luther King Jr. in that famous speech- literarily. Rarely do candidate embody dreams and change the same time. The last time this happened was when a little known politician called Abraham Lincoln was elected to the White House. Obama in this case is the ultimate dream. An uncommon dream of racial unity- a man not alien to the white woman (who was his mother), the black man (who was his father), the black woman (who is his wife and daughters), and the white man (whose striking resemblance he bears in his white maternal grand pa). Obama of course is beyond the racial rigmarole, for in his message you find something inspiring, something unique and beyond all that a paradigm shift. In Iowa, this message was validated and a final nail hole was driven in the coffin of that argument of him being ahead of his time and his electability.

While certain candidates ran on being smart, calculating, and experienced, Barack’s candidacy was defined by authenticity, vision, and positive outlook. Indeed, Dick Cheney’s long years of public experience, and Bush’s executive years in Texas did not save the nation from eight years of back stepping and second guessing. Hence, in keeping faith with the new message devoid of the rancor of Bush-Clinton years of more fight, no solution, and voters appear to sending a clear message: “more of the same is never going to be enough”. I am yet to be totally sold on Obama presidency though, but here are a few reasons why I think this will be good not just for America but for our increasingly dangerous world:

  1. His presidency will restore the unity and faith of the electorate. For the first time in a long time, outsiders do have a chance. Moreover, this outsider has little of something for everyone. Black or white, immigrant or non-immigrant, democrat or republican, mainlander or Pacific Islander residents, the Obama message is refreshingly simple and straightforward. Indeed, a nation under such enormous threat from the outside is in need of a uniter not a divider.
  2. His presidency offers hope to the outside and fends off the threats of the fundamentalists. Aside the fact that his presidency will unite America to content with the terrorist threats, it is even more important to note that it will unite the world. For the first time, this president did not just wine and dine with Sheikhs; he lived among the poorest of the poor in Islamic countries. He understands their angst, and his heritage speaks for itself.
  3. His presidency adds life to the inevitable decline of this empire – . Make no mistake, all empires must rise and fall. However, how they decline is a matter of choice. You can choose to be eased out, forced out, or defeated out like the British, Persians, and Egyptians respectively. I am very sure; the Obama presidency buys America time like the Victorian rule in Great Britain did in the 18th Century for the inevitable sunset on the empire that was to be. This is for no greater reason than the fact that Obama presidency will tackle those short term issues that threaten this empire like Social Security insolvency, Medicare bankruptcy, job creation, and deficit financing with the focus of an eagle and dispassionate reasoning of a poker player.

It is true that China, India, and the rest are rising, but these problems make their rise even quicker and the decline of the greatest experiment in human history even faster. Electing a Clinton or Edward or any of those old eagles of the right is just a return to the past- when you campaigned on carrying out these great fixes, but failed woefully at it because the other side simply won’t allow it. Obama can do what Bush 1, Clinton 1, Bush II and Clinton II was not able to do and will never be able to do. Heck, when did it become a monarchial arrangement?

Do not be mistaken, the journey to 1600 Pennsylvania avenue is a long arduous one. It might as well be that this candidate of hope might never get there, but Iowa is a unique opening. In Iowa, the presumption of the status quo that everything was uhuru was permanently shattered. But in far away Nairobi, from whose soil the genes of yesterday victor began this journey, a sad turn for democracy threatened to spoil the joy of the moment. But like the hope of one son, the dreams of another for good leadership devoid of electoral rigging and manipulation can be salvaged from the ashes of martyrs. May the spirits of JFK, MLK, and RFK endure to guide this candidacy to fruition against all odds.

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