Yes we can! Jamaica is alive with excitement following Tuesday night’s election results. The entire island is bustling with Obama mania! Brian and I woke up early Wednesday morning to attend a PC meeting. On our way out the driveway we were amazed to see a picture of Barack painted on the outside wall of a nearby restaurant – the paint still drying! How is that possible?! The artist must have stayed up all night.
Everyone is talking about the significance of Obama’s win: the taxi driver taking you to work, the Rasta selling oranges on the corner, the neighboring town’s principal sitting next to you in your meeting. The exhilaration in the air is intoxicating. A reporter for Jamaica’s newspaper The Gleaner summed it up well in his editorial.
“Yesterday’s emphatic win by Barack Obama of the US presidency is nearly as much a victory for the world as for the man himself and the people of the US. Indeed, it is less than half a century since the civil-rights movement, the Selma demonstration and the march on Washington. Undeclared apartheid was in Mr. Obama’s lifetime. In that context, his election to the presidency is a significant and profound part of the narrative in the emerging American story.
America is much closer to resolving its internal contradictions and making whole the ideals of the founding fathers.
…. But as imperfect and exasperating that we, too, often found America and Americans of the gum chewing, loud talking, arrogant variety, there was still something decent and noble we thought about the US. The country might be drunken on its success, but there was a clear moral compass in America that forced us, against the grain it seemed sometimes, to express admiration.
Then came the lot who have run things these last eight years, unilateral marchers in hobnailed assertion of sole superpower status, articulating doctrines of preventative strike and regime change.
The world was designated as old and new – the supposed old order being of those who believe talking is the first order towards resolving conflicts – and that not only the powerful ought to have a place at the table, and that morality can be as potent a force as mighty armies and superior technology.
It is the hope the Mr. Obama will rebalance these ideas – not that he will be weak and effete – that make the world excited about his presidency.
America should remain muscular and strong, but the hope is that a moral core will return to Washington and the rest of us not viewed as mere pawns.”
Another reporter wrote, “While the election was not necessarily a referendum on race, positive race relations will be the beneficiary. It is also a testament to the people of the USA to have the courage to unshackle themselves from the cultural reality of their historical experience, to elect a black man as president, only a mere 40 years after assassinating the dreamer. Martin Luther King’s dream has been realized due to the awakening of a new generation. The world will be better as a result of this comprehensive victory by Obama. We join in our prayers for and with him that he will lead with the courage of his conviction.”
And an Obama supporter in Jamaica said, “The 2008 presidential race surpassed skin color as people were looking at the issues affecting the US and the world at large.”
I guess what I am most impressed by is the genuine interest not only shown here in Jamaica but from the world as a whole in our presidential race. When your only source of news is from countries other than your own, it really opens your eyes to the connectivity of our world. What we do as a country truly impacts the world as a whole, for better or for worse. The world is listening to us. I hope we have the insight to listen to the world.
Love to all. YVSC