When the figures clearly showed that Senator Barack Obama had taken a huge leap ahead of Senator John McCain, there were predictions and superstitions running wild across the globe. This is the first time that the US Presidential Elections had attracted attention across the globe, only because of one man—Obama. And off course the global meltdown. And then within couple of hours, the figures showed Obama going way beyond the 270 mark and America's 44th President had emerged.
Whether this African American can bring about global change is the challenge. With America undergoing the biggest crisis affecting all countries across the globe, this man is seen as the saviour. I am no political analyst or economy expert to comment on how this will affect the global economy. But, I would certainly share my views on how I was drawn towards watching Obama's victory on television.
On Tuesday night, I decided that I would watch the last process of `AMERICA VOTES' on television. I set an alarm for 6 am for Wednesday.
Right on time. I was alone at home. All televisions in my neighbourhood were blaring loud with television anchors going breathless talking about the figures rising. When I switched on the TV at home, it all synchronized.
All I recall is that Obama had conquered half of USA and he was still waiting for the rest in his camp in Chicago. Meanwhile, McCain and Obama had already had a telephonic conversation, which was amazing. This 42-year-old man was to be the new face of America.
I was switching my attention from watching the television and reading the newspapers. Obama was all over. And then I shift my gaze from the newspaper to the television and the screen was flashing big and wide…``OBAMA ELECTED THE 44TH US PRESIDENT''. The feeling was great. There were celebrations across the globe.
Television news channels were shifting from one location to another airing the celebrations.
But, did anybody sit up and look at the 72-year-old John McCain who even after his failure to conquer the Presidential elections, said, ``this is my loss. But, my people of Arizona, this is a victory for you. You have got the best leader who will lead America. You have to support him. We have to support him and ascertain him that we will contribute on our own way to help him get America out of this crisis''. And the crowd could say nothing more than shout…``John McCain''. Smiles, not of loss, but, of faith in McCain was spread across Arizona.
I could not have missed this. But, I would like to say that more than a Presidential speech, these words of Sentor John McCain were most inspiring. What it means to me as an Indian who has never been to America. Well, more than what it means, it is just an inspirational speech which Indian politicians should pick up and learn. God save Indian politicians. A comparison would be foolish, yet, where will you find an opposition party leader in India supporting the ruling party? Other than allegations and political gimmicks, there is nothing more to a party which loses elections.
And then off course the great Obama speech. Powerpacked. Spontaneous. Like a stream of consciousness. Like a lightning. I postponed my trip to the shop to just watch his speech.
The strange part about this whole issue is that NRIs have suddenly turned supportive of Obama, when they do not realise that this will hugely affect their industry, ultimately bombing everything attached to the IT sector. In what way, well, I really can't explain. However, celebrations were full on across Bangalore city. This man is some character.
And as I started writing this post, I checked my email inbox and found this email. The most touching email I received from a cousin who has lived half a decade in America, inspired me to think of how pristine and bright the future is for Indian immigrants in America. However, I hope and wish that this African American Democrat or rather a people's President will tie up loose ends of every knot tied to the Global Power.
Her email goes like this:
Politics – A perspective from an Indian immigrant now a US citizen
I was born and raised in India. India shaped my values, early education and provided me with rich multicultural experiences. I continue to love India because it is a progressive nation and is openly tolerant towards all religions and races. I grew up to be a tolerant person because of those core Indian values. Politics was not on my mind at that time. Like a typical teenager, I was focused more on college, hanging out with friends, and watching movies. I was least interested in politics because then I thought that the Indian political system was hideously corrupt and that made me cynical about the Indian government. I did learn in civics that we had a parliamentary form of government and we had the right to vote and that was it for me. Then I moved as an immigrant to USA in 1999. Primary reason for the move was to acquire better education and fulfill my ambitions. After 5 years, I was sworn in as a US citizen because it felt good to have a US passport. I considered myself as a pseudo American in an Indian skin. I continued to be cynical about politics after Bush got re-elected for the second term. I did believe that democracy was a fancy political term in this nation because of Electoral vote system. I detested shows like Olbermann, O' Reilly factor or Lou Dobbs that discussed politics and government divisively to promote their extreme partisan views. They failed to take a neutral stand.
Let me begin to tell you how my interest in politics was aroused. A young senator from Illinois, who gave an inspiring speech in 2004 democratic convention, finally caught my eye. So what happened in 2008? Just as I hoped, this skinny black man beat the odds of clinching the democratic presidential nomination in 2008 primaries. Like any other person, I started to delve into Barack Obama's life. It turned out that he had lived the ultimate American dream. He attended Harvard much before affirmative action came into play in the 90's. He was also the first black president of Harvard Law Review. In conclusion, this man worked his way up. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Obama chose to become a community organizer in the south side of Chicago. His goal was to help the poor instead of pursuing a career in corporate law. He never used his color as an excuse to reach his ideals and more importantly he broke all racial stereotypes to rise above and beyond. Barack Obama's triumphs and tribulations to get elected in the Illinois state senate spoke for itself. His vision of America was apparent in his message "we are not the red states or the blues states, we are the United States".
Obama's outstanding ability to acknowledge people from all walks of life- rich, poor, gay, straight, black, white, brown, democrats, republicans and independents as Americans is commendable. He openly admitted that he is imperfect and reflected on his mistakes and continues to do so. During those campaign speeches, he not only discussed his policies, but also reminded Americans to move beyond the painful past of slavery and racism. What really moved me was that he chose to shape his life in the absence of his father and reminded black men to be responsible and committed fathers. He stressed that government cannot replace our basic duties as a citizen and we all have to participate as one nation to bring change. And for the first time in history, he inspired young cynical Americans to get involved in politics. This morning, I voted for the first time and I felt good about being a part of this historical election held in this powerful nation. I fulfilled my duty as a citizen for the first time in a nation that gave me better opportunities and hopes for a brighter future. Regardless of the winner in this election, I have realized that change begins from us and it is not only our right, but our duty to vote. Need I say more, "that is change". ---- Indu Menon