There’s no further doubt. America truly is the greatest nation on earth. It truly is the land of opportunity, a nation of dreams. America has finally delivered on its promise that anyone born on its soil can achieve anything.
On 5th November 2008, Barack Hussein Obama won the epic contest to become the 44th President of the United States of America. It was the victory of progressiveness over backwardness, of diversity over monoculturalism, of honorable conduct over gutter politics. A nation celebrated, and the world celebrated with them.
With the benefit of hindsight, was it really going to be any other way? Not with a leader who had the charisma unseen since Bill Clinton. Not with a candidate who had been compared with Lincoln, Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr long before election day neared. In a nation clamoring for change, Obama not only offered it, but personified it.
The calamitous reign of George W Bush made it impossible for any Republican candidate. A catalog of disasters (self-inflicted and otherwise) made the American people sick of their incumbent party. McCain and Co compounded the problem with a dirty campaign that repelled most of the undecideds. The economy hit rock bottom just four weeks before the polls. And then, there was Sarah Palin. Enough said. The writing was on the wall.
Conservative, insular and parochial forces tried their best to set the evolutionary clock backwards, but sanity prevailed. Obama swept to victory in hotly contested Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and added insult to injury by prising Virginia. The traditional Democratic bastions remained blue, and McCain had to fall back on traditional Republican territory. When the dust settled, it was a monumental victory for Obama.
What does this mean for the world? Everything. America will no longer be wrongly perceived as an institution of white men trying to extend a colonialistic influence across the globe. America will be perceived for what it is, a great nation where blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, men, women, young and old belonged, and belonged equally. It is no longer white Uncle Sam zeroing in on unassuming targets. It’s no longer the bald eagle swooping down on oil-rich territory. America is now a friend to the world. A nation that offers hope and direction to an ailing planet.
It will be years, perhaps decades, before Americans realize the full magnitude of what they have done. They have freed their country from the shackles of slavery, slavery to parochial instincts, slavery to age-old prejudices, slavery to their own barriers.
In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr said, “I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land.”
Yes they did.