Change on a scale not matched before, was needed in order for this to take place, and the world holds it’s breath to see if change will indeed come to America.
The Symbolism of Obama becoming President is in itself a beautiful thing. The image of a black man and a black family in the White House is as much a sign of progress, as it is that the ideal of the American dream is very much alive. And yet in spite of those who paved the way before him, the task Obama faced the moment he announced his intention to run for office eighteen months ago seemed impossible.
When Obama was victorious in the drawn out and gruelling primary contest, we dared to hope. This hope echoed around the world and was the mantra of the Obama campaign, and we are right to see Obama’s victory as a victory for us all.
This is an exciting time, the possibility of a young, rational, thoughtful, and seemingly honest man becoming President, is not nearly as heartening as what was necessary in America for this to happen.
For Obama to become President, the face of America needed to change drastically and did so. First time voters were drawn out in huge numbers across the United States, and undecided voters voted for Obama. Safe Republican seats went to Obama, and so too did some of the swing states.
Some may argue that a powerful figure like Obama emerging as President elect after years of a disastrous administration was a natural consequence for America. This may have an element of truth to it. However, it was Obama’s ability to mobilise one of the greatest ever run campaigns was a decisive factor in this monumental election.
In fact it is Obama’s great ability to inspire and communicate that has sparked the flame of young politicisation with young people in the U.K. For many young people, the fact that Obama’s quest has been successful has restored the sense of purpose, belief and energy that has been lacking for so long.
As Mr. Obama reminded us during his speech on November 4th his victory is ours and the real work begins now. For the younger generation in this country who have had their aspirations reinvigorated, and their faith in the democratic process re-affirmed, the time to step up and take the reigns of responsibility for our own future is now and the need has never been greater. If we are to emulate the success America will now enjoy, having taken the gigantic and symbolic step it has taken, we need to recognise the potential our own democratic process in this country holds and embrace it. The prospect of having a Black Prime Minister in this country and a more equal society may not be as far off as we think.
Ashok Viswanathan, Assistant Director of Operation Black Vote said: “Barriers are there to be broken. Seven years ago we did a poll that showed the 9 out of 10 Black youth believed there would never be a Black Prime Minster in their lifetime. After the Obama election I believe that were we to do that poll today the figures would be reversed. The election of a Black president has made the UK’s Black communities believe that ‘Yes, we can’.”
|Written by Richard Sudan|