What Obama’s Presidency Should Mean To Black People

by Michael Ewetuga

I watched with interest the primary of the Democratic Party and the general election both of which Obama won to emerge, not only as the president of the United States, the most powerful country in the world, but also as the first black man to hold that position.

Ninety nine percent, if not hundred percent, of black people voted for Obama and such enthusiasm is understood. In a country where black people were of the belief that their political attainment is limited, it is a thing of joy to be proved wrong. Not only black but white, Latino, Asian and other people of different and diverse background made it possible for this man of history to get to the highest office in this country.

Racism exists in the US, no doubt, and I can say this without any fear of contradiction because I have observed it on different levels, but what Obama has been able to show us is that with strategic planning, dogged determination and brilliance, impossibility is a thing of the past.

My excitement about Obama’s election is more in it’s symbolism than in the man himself for the simple fact that a politician is going to be just that. He will rule this country like other politicians before him and he will play politics just like them

What I meant by symbolism is that now we can look at our children and tell them, like Obama did during his campaign, “yes you can”. You can be whatever you set out to be, you can attain whatever height you chose to purse and with the right planning and the right strategy as well as the right people you will achieve your goal.

For those black people who expect Obama to solve the race problem, that is far fetched. Obama did not run on such a promise and if he made a promise like that it must be one of the few times I missed the whole intrigues of this election.

We should learn a lesson from the success of Obama. We should let our children know, like it was drummed into Obama’s head, that education is the key. We should let our children know that no one is going to hand them anything because of the travails of our progenitors in this country. We should let them know that no one, no race, owes us anything and that all we need to get to whatever position we dream of attaining is to go through the channels provided for everyone by the society in which we live.

We should educate them that prison does not make anyone a man, as a matter of fact it makes you no better than an animal in a cage except that where animals are kept in one cage prisoners are kept away from society by multiple cages.

Africa countries should learn a lesson from this election, especially the so called “Giant of Africa” Nigeria. We should place more premiums on the ability and the capability of an individual to deliver democracy dividend to our people and bring glory to our country instead of paying undue attention to where the individual hail from.

What Obama did in America is not different from what Abiola did in Nigeria in an election that was adjudged by all to be the freest and fairest in that country but which the dumb military president at the time, whose name I find disgusting to even mention, deemed appropriate to throw into the dustbin of history.

We need more people like Obama, not only at the highest echelon of our society, but in every sphere of it.

In conclusion, we should not expect Obama to make sure that everyone is doing the right thing in every aspect of this society. We should not see his election as the end of oppression or bigotry in this country. When we reached that point then our society would be the better for it.

The strength of America is not in whom the president is, the strength of this great country is in its diversity. We should learn to appreciate the value that different people of different race and diverse background bring to this country.

We should realize that no man is better than the other because of the color of their skin or because of the race from which such an individual sprout from.

I know some people would judge Obama based on race rather than based on his achievement or otherwise as the number forty fourth president of the United States. I know there are people waiting in the wing to see him fail and attribute his failure to his race rather than to his judgment as an individual. I know also that there are people waiting for him to succeed so they can praise his race for his achievements.

Obama carries more burden than any other president this country has ever had simply because he’s a black man.

African countries should not expect Obama to solve their problems for them, neither should black people; each country’s leader still has the onus of making live better for their people. Africa, I believe, under Obama will not derive more attention over and above what it derived under other US presidents. We should realize Obama has enough problems to tackle domestically here in the states and should not be seen as a sell out if he doesn’t put Africa problems at the top of his priority. Other countries expect help from the US and deserve as much attention as any other regions.

The least the black people can do for this man of history is to make him proud of being a black man by getting our priorities straight and doing the right thing. Obama is indeed the first black president to rule America but he is not the black’s president but president of the United States of America.

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