“Our President is a black man”…

… shouted a black man in a car driving past me on Times Square last night.   “And a white man”, I said out loud to my friend.   She laughed.  “He’s like that Michael Jackson song.”  She laughed some more.

We had come from Rockefeller center a bit in shock at the speed of Obama’ victory.  Quite in keeping with the “shock and awe” of a political campaign on a scale never before seen in American history.

As we walked along the streets of New York everyone seemed jubilant.  Everyone … not just black people.  And I thought how strange that I don’t think of Barack as a black man, but as a transformational charismatic leader.  I think for many people this is indeed the case.  The fact that he is black was just icing on the cake; a chance to really give a gigantic middle finger to an establishment that is perceived as corrupt and rotting from the inside out.

And I wonder … do we owe George W. Bush a debt of gratitude for this truly historic occasion?  In a strange way I would say yes.  Perhaps through lack of accountability, secrecy, arrogance, go-it-aloneness/my way or the highway, closed mindedness, and fear, the resulting financial meltdown, international disdain, and assault on the very freedom that defines America, George W. created fertile ground for a leader like Barack Hussein Obama to emerge.

George W. created a listening that was not there before.  A listening among the American people that allowed them to take a leap across a chasm of broken dreams, a leap that allowed their country to reclaim or perhaps earn its place as leader of the free word.  A leap that demonstrated America’s acknowledgment of the dire global situation it helped create, and of it’s commitment to leading the world out of it.  America elected a man that has the listening of the world as their leader.

I think most Americans have no idea of what this election means to the world.  Even before the news verified this to be he case, most internationals knew that Barack’s victory would be celebrated in their home countries.  All over Europe, Africa and Latin America champagne corks popped and there was much drinking and dancing.  With absolutely no research data to back me up I speculate that no other election in the history of elections was greeted with as much rejoicing as the election of Barack Obama on Nov 4th, 2008.  Read the news reports over the next few days and you’ll see this verified.  In my home country of Trinidad people were shouting for joy and I’m sure we’ll have several songs written about Barack Obama and America for the Carnival season in 2009.

In a way, I feel a little afraid for Barack.  The level of expectation is way high.  On the other hand, he’s inheriting such a mess that there is no place to go, but up.  Overall though, I’m very excited. I’m excited about a President that will usher in an era of service, not shopping, a President that will usher in an era of co-operation among people and countries that now have a demonstration of magic, that all things are possible, even peace in the Middle East … hell, a black man was elected President of the United States of America.

5 Responses to “Our President is a black man”…

  1. Excellent comments.

    It was interesting the level of commentary that the ‘election that would never end’ generated in our house especially among my kids (ages 11 and 14). They were the ones that watched the votes pour in and got up early this morning to check the results on the internet. They were both want Obama to win and never once did they mention that Obama is Black or White. When I asked why all the interest in the election and why Obama they said that ‘his ideas were great and would change things’ My wife is a teacher at a local school and had traffic duty this morning well the students were being drop off and everyone was extremely positive about the outcome. Her school is 94% Southeast Asian. This is all interesting from a Canadian household.

    We too are concerned about the level of expectation that he must carry and hope that the electorate will truly allow him to change things. Great leaders rise to these occasions and the world is currently very shy on great leaders. Lets hope that this is true change to come.

  2. In my country 90% of the population would have voted for Barack Obama! Maybe even more…. Like you put it on your blog there are 2 inportant reasons; Everybody hates Bush, people are so fed up with this incredible stupid ****. And 2.. Obama is everything you already discribed on your blog:-)

    I also think that a lot of people believe that this man can make the world a better place. Hope is already one of his big achievements!

    best regards,

    Maarten

  3. Brilliant, Peter.

    Very well expressed.

    I have been feeling elated, inspired, and filled with a renewed sense of purpose in seeing this victory.
    When I finally surfaced from my bedroom in the early afternoon, the polls were just closing in New York City.

    I spent the next hour or so growing in excitement at what I already knew was to be.
    A couple days before, a friend wondered aloud who would win.
    I said with absolute certainty, “oh, it’s going to be Obama, and it’s going to be obvious.”

    This is, indeed, both an extraordinary moment in history for America and the world, and a symbol of the very clear and resonant desire of people all over the world to step into a new realm of possibility, responsibility, and commitment.

    Cheers to you and everyone else I miss in my beloved city.
    I have been celebrating with friends here, and would love to be with all of you there.

    much love, brother

    Bill

  4. The history that Barack Obama has made will be felt umpteenth-fold by the American people; black, white, hispanic, asian and all combinations of the afore mentioned.
    To the rest of the world, the United States now looks like the place that it has always claimed to be…a place where all people have the opportunity to be whatever they want to be.
    The day after Obama won the election a little black boy in my fifth grade class came over to my desk while we waited for the day to begin.
    He said, “Mrs. Lucas, did you hear that Obama is our new president?” to which I replied,
    “Yes. What do you think about that?”
    His response made my heart fill to bursting, he said “Now I know I can be president of the United States, too”.
    That’s what this historical moment in time has given the United States………HOPE! Hope that what was thought impossible is now very, very possible!

    Great article, Peter.

Any thoughts? Contributions/acknowledgments welcome.