“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” – President Obama
My grandparents claim to have felt the hope that echoed around the World when John F Kennedy became the President of the USA way back in 1960, from as far away as we are in the United Kingdom. The glimour of hope that change had come, that the World super power was not in the firm control of the Business elite, and the anguish and sorrow they felt when they heard of Kennedy’s assasination. They both say that the feeling of hope rekindled was evident in their minds yesterday at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Sky News played a video this morning of an interview with a Black American child. The interviewer asked what the election of President Obama meant to him, the child said…
“It means that when people see a black man on TV, they won’t see only a criminal or an athlete. They’ll see a president, a lawyer or a doctor.” – How beautiful and powerful can one child’s voice be? This voice, this single sentence, encapsulates a new America spectacularly.
In the hearts of those of us who have become disillusioned with America, (which includes Democrats, and the entire World, apart from the Republicans) hateful of the Bush Administration, sick of out dated intolerant Republican policies, it was a monumentous occasion to witness the end of such intolerance, not just with a new administration, but with an African American President who less than a century ago, would have been banned from sitting on the same bus as the white man.
Often i’ll be searching online blogs and come across those of cynical Republicans who have already condemned Obama to political hell, judging his legacy before it’s even begun, purely because he’s a democrat. Ridiculous comments like “He’s socialist“, when Socialism is about as far from Obama as a word could be, “He wont hand over his birth certificate“… as if they don’t adequately vet a potential senator and President before they take the job. “His middle name….. Hussain….. like Sadam….. AARRRGH!!!“…this one speaks for itself. “He refuses to swear on the bible, proving he’s a muslim“…. as if it matters what faith a man is.
All of this before the inauguration, even though he did in fact swear on the Bible. Republican smear tactics, tactics of an extremist party with extremist views, and who put forward an extremist candidate for Vice President. It was hope versus continued fear, and hope presided, thankfully. Why wont those same Republican Bloggers admit that their President over the past eight years has achieved nothing short of criminal, and should be taking the place of those at Guantanamo.
Aside from the policies Obama has which are right, good, and above all, hopeful for a country that has relied too long on the reckless behaviour of the wealthy, it’s the symbol that is enduring and so attractive. The symbol of a new World based not on the colour of somebodies skin. The symbol that you do not have to be somehow affiliated with Oil production to be welcomed into Washington. The symbol that the last eight years is dead, and a new era based not on fear or on hidden corruption and lies is replaced by intergrity, human decency, and kindness. It’s a symbol that becomes increasingly difficult to avoid buying in to. I certainly buy into it fully. I do not expect Obama to be a sort of Jesus-like figure, like some do. I merely welcome the departure of the destructive nature of Republican Conservativism. It has to be fair to say that the Republicans, who have spent eight years killing, silencing, looting Nations for nothing more than individual wealth whilst all the time letting Americans know that if you feel guilty that America is causing so much pain and suffering across the planet, then you’re not a true American, is over. Already, my faith in the most powerful nation on Earth is slowly renewing.
For the past eight years, or four years at least, it’s been difficult to envisage a time when “President Bush” was no more. The moment Obama was sworn in, his speech; his passion for what he was saying, inspired a smile from me, knowing it marked the end of the Bush regime so beautifully and eloquently, it rolled back the policies of the past eight years. The speech needed to renew hope and faith in America, it did just that.
BBC News interviewed a Republican voting couple in their home in Kansas. Their home, was a 200 acre land, sixteen room house, who claimed to be “struggling“. The lady they interviewed, was speaking to them from her library. I thought to myself, this is the legacy that has died today, the stupidity of people like this, the absolute nerve of these kinds of people to claim to be “struggling“. The BBC did it beautifully with the voice over man saying “We interviewed the family from their 200 acre property, that they really don’t need.” That alone, embodies the passions of the Left.
As I sat watching the inauguration, I could not emit the image from my mind, of the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali dumping his Olympic medals because they wanted to send him to war yet wouldn’t let him sit on the same bus as a white man, Rosa Parks, and all those who suffered the wrath of the Ku Klux Klan, the slaves who built the White House, the thousands of black Americans who have struggled for equality across America over the generations. Yesterday, was the greatest day in the history of black America, and a day that will be remembered forever.
The election of President Obama is not about one man. History alone will judge the substance of his Presidency. The election of President Obama is a symbol. A symbol of how far America has come. How America does not need to be all about slamming an iron fist across the World, that love and hope is not dead, that the Republican Party has not indoctrinated the American public in intolerance, disunity and callous individualism.
When it was all over, Obama was stood with his wife and children, the new occupants of the White house, smiling gleefully at the future, after a speech that should be carved into stone, it pained me to see them walk off without turning to George Bush and say “You do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so, whatever you do say will be used as evidence in court”….. maybe one day.
Still, Did the BBC really need to tell me what roads in Washington were closed today? My car barely gets me to Tesco in Wigston.