Wednesday, November 5, 2008
'He' Had A Dream
Ladies & Gentleman, It’s Barack Obama for America!!
I was going to write a post on my absolutely fabulous trip to Bombay last week, but I'm assuming the election of Barack Obama to the post of the President of the United States is a bigger defining moment in History & world politics, and therefore it should come first. My post on Bombay will just have to wait :)
Who would have thought that a Black, or a “person of color” as non-whites are referred to in politically correct terms, would become the President of a predominantly White America?
Obama won by a landslide. This signifies change, for sure. I guess Americans have been craving change for a while, and they’ve never desired it more desperately than now when their economy is battered & their country alienated courtesy George Bush’s ‘Shock-N-Awe’ military policy across the globe.
Obama’s election signifies progressiveness, but it also proves that skin color can only run so deep. Ultimately, it’s your vision for your country & its people, your beliefs and how steadfastly you stand by them, that will see you through.
This is indeed a historic moment for African-Americans in America. For centuries they were enslaved, segregated. There was a time not too long ago, when everything in America was segregated – schools, work places, public transport. There were separate schools for black & white kids. The ones for white kids had better infrastructure, of course. Offices were segregated along racial lines. Blacks sat in a different portion of the bus/train, usually at the back & were expected to give up their seats to Whites.
The Civil Rights Movement officially started in the mid-1950s with the Montgomery Bus Boycott when the Blacks of Montgomery, Alabama, led by Rosa Parks (who was asked to give up her seat to make room for a White passenger, decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, instead of being relegated to the back when a white boarded. The Movement got its nationwide pioneer in the form of Martin Luther King Jr. who, through his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, galvanized the African-Americans of the entire nation to fight for their freedom. America to this day celebrates his birthday in January as a national holiday.
Unlike MLK Jr. however, Obama does not ride the wave of Black politics. He has been voted in as much by Whites as by Blacks. It’s his vision for America & the constructive role it can play in the world at a time of financial & political crises, that saw him at the hem of the country. In spite of considerable improvement in race relations across America, African-Americans still continue to live at the fringes of society, for a large part. But change seems to have finally caught up with the country.
Barack for America, I say.