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.

3 comments:

The knife said...

its a welcome change to see a bouncy prsidential candidate...can't expect our floks to jump onto the stage with full energy. Though I guess a bit of casteist politics, a la BSP et al, has entered the US too this time. I don't know the US very well but are all 'african americans' Democrats at all times? Or is this is the first time that they have had the equivalent of a Yadav/ Muslim block.
From an Indian POV I did pick up a few things about his being less pally towards us that the Bush, Mc Cain (do we want to be known as their friends is another issues? plus his pro American Joe might affect the Indian Joes in BPOs, textile mills. Must admit that I have not studied all this too much.
And going by Facebook statuses i hope someday that Indian politics would interests like us as much and we might even go out and vote, specially after we kept hoping that the Americans would

Scarlett said...

Don't know what gave you the impression that casteism has surfaced in American politics. Obama is 47 yrs old only, but he has a credible political career behind him. Most African-Americans tend to be Democrats because the policies of Democrats tend to be more favorable towards them, such as progressive taxation, i.e., higher your income, the more you pay in taxes. The Republicans on the other hand believe in giving tax reliefs to the rich/very rich in the hope that they will invest in the US Economy. It started during the Reagan administration in the 1980s (what's know as Trickle-Down Economics) but that didn't really happen.
As for which of the two are better for India & Indian business - the Reps have traditionally been better b/c they're less opposed to outsourcing, levy lower taxes on corporates. In fact, one of Obama's policies would be to impose higher taxes on companies that outsource. Most Indians in America tend to vote Republical mainly because of their financial policies. I guess this is the time when the world should be worried about which of the two candidates would be better for America & American economy (so that the global economy too can get back on its feet) rather than who would be better for India!!

The knife said...

actually I meant an approximation/ equivalent of casteist politics. Fact is that the 'african american' factor has been referred to continuously and opinion polls suggested that they would vote en masse for obama. A bit like when the Imam asks for all Muslims to vote for the party of the day.

I hope the average American too spend as much time worrying about what's good for Indian and the Indian economy