08 January, 2008

Let The Fat Lady Sing!

Or is it too early for that? Is it too early to celebrate for Barack Obama?

About three years ago, I first heard of the man called Barack Obama; I had never heard about him before then. But, even then, when I first watched him briefly on Wolf Blitzer's CNN weekend show - I felt very excited. At that time, I didn't know at all of Obama's origin or intentions. I didn't even know then, that first time, that he was a Senator. But, just by watching the man and hear him speak, I became excited. With time, I came to know more about Barack Obama and, ever since, with time - he has continued to fascinate me and to considerably capture my interest and imagination.

I have written about the Senator from Illinois three times, before: first, sixteen months ago, here and then, when he decided to run for President; and early this year, I had a post on him on this site. Still, I have always been sceptical as to whether America is ready for Obama. It seems, by all indications, America IS.

Now it seems very likely that Obama is about to shatter Hilary Clinton's dream of becoming the first female president of the United States; a dream, that, just a few days ago seemed almost certain for her to achieve. The question is: is America truly ready for an African American president?

There's been a relentless focus on the question of race. Is America ready? Would the South go for a (half) African American with a name that rhymes with "Osama"? Will people, fearful of being seen as a racist, tell pollsters they'd vote for a man of color and then go against him once they get into the confines of the voting booth? Will the Big Lie that he's a Muslim get e-mailed around to enough "low-information" voters that a whole gaggle of people freak out, get off the couch and head to the polls to beat him? AlertNet

Only time will tell. Still: Little more than three years have elapsed since he was a virtual unknown, not yet elected to the US Senate, who burst into national prominence with a now-legendary speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. “There is not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America,” he declared, “there’s the United States of America!” I very much hope that Americans will elect him as their next president. He, more than any of the other candidates - Democrat or Republican - has the qualities that are most suited for the next residence of the White House; who can regain America's lost International dignity; and who can lead America to its rightful place and position in the World.

Photo: The New York Times