05 November 2008

My (half) Black President

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...So many things on my mind today: History in the making, the triumph of hope over fear, the potential for repairing the rift between the USA and much of the rest of the world. And at the same time, not loading onto one man all of our hopes and dreams, hopes and dreams that we need to accomplish ourselves, not wait for a government to provide.

But there will be time to sort all that out after the celebration. All day I've had the tune of Brenda Fassie's "Black President" running through my head.

Let us rejoice for our president
Let us sing for our president
Let us pray for our president
Let us sing, let us dance

Of course, Obama will be our half-black president. Also half-white, half-African, half American; raised on exotic islands (Indonesia and Hawaii); and celebrated worldwide. As an internationally minded citizen, I'm relieved and inspired that we will have someone so international at the helm of this often great, sometimes misguided nation. The world's reaction bears witness that he is already a healing presence. May that continue when he takes office in January.

[mp3] Extra Golden: Obama (live at KEXP)

Not only are victory parties continuing around the world, congratulations are pouring in. "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place," wrote Fassie's black president, Nelson Mandela, in a letter of congratulations to Obama.

from The Christian Science Monitor:
An estimated 136 million Americans – as many as 66 percent, the most since 1908 – pulled a lever, touched a screen, or filled in ballot. They are part of a radical transformation of American politics – not just in terms of ideology and party identification. It goes much further than that.
About two-thirds of the new voters were under 30, twenty percent were black and another twenty percent were Hispanic. They went overwhelming for Obama. That also helped the Democrats win comfortable margins in the Congress, although they appear to have fallen short of winning the 60 votes needed in the Senate to prevent Republican filibusters.
Analysts contend that gives the Democrats the opportunity to usher in a new era, but they stress it’s only an opportunity.
“Democrats certainly have an opportunity for long-term change because they’ve mobilized young voters, they’ve won the Latino vote, which will grow over time, and they’re doing well in the suburbs where Republicans used to beat them,” says Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution. “But in the long run, their success depends on their performance.”
Yeah, but for a few days more, let's just focus on the moment's joy...and let us rejoice for our president.
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