Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America Re-invents Herself:

History has shown America as a nation that re-invents herself with the changing times. It is in American where possibilities can and do become reality. In each of her passing generations there has been a defining moment for the nation and the world, for better or worse. This characteristic was witnessed after the September 11th when the wounded nation rallied together for a common cause. Their strength could not be found in the American military might and wealth, but in the willingness to believe in the true greatness of a nation, its own people. The world rallied behind the Americans until the out-going president started acting unilaterally and trashing the goodwill offered by the rest of the world. Yet even at such a time, the resolve and will of the American people never abated.

It is from this group of people joined together by a common destiny that four years ago a young man emerged. Coming from the shadows, he described himself as a “skinny” man with a “funny” name. He audaciously declared a daring hope and a belief in the Americans’ power to recreate and reinvent. Under the towering statue of Abraham Lincoln, this man with a middle name “Hussein” declared his candidacy for the president of the United States. It was a long shot, to say the least, but he dared to believe America could and would reinvent herself. He refused to be defined by the black community from which he was coming and rejected isolationism as well. Nativism and provincialism have no place in the modern world. Therefore, he was not bringing to the table a black agenda. Neither was he willing to be cowed by the overwhelming power of the white majority. From the start he pointed towards the direction he was to follow for the next twenty one months and beyond; building bridges along the way.

With a clarion call to change and a slogan “Yes, We Can!” Barack Obama began his journey that would lead him to the ultimate prize. He had observed, experienced and studied the American politics. He had as well looked at his people and saw the same thing that the founding fathers of this great nation saw, resolve and will to reinvent. He believed in the American dream because he had lived it. He as well believed in the American people. He knew that America was not a nation of “whiners” neither was it a place where people stuck to “guns and religion”. There was something deeper and greater about the American people. Though the beginnings were rough, the American people listened to him, they started connecting with his beliefs and values, and they started re-membering.

So, last night as I eagerly waited for the release of the US presidential election results, my emotions ran high, with anxiety and expectation building up. In bated breath I waited to watch the one who has inspired millions across the world make history. I shuddered at the thought that I was to be part of those witnessing such a momentous hour in history. To imagine that the “skinny” guy with his charming smile and a “funny” name would be sitting on the most powerful seat on earth, was in itself overwhelming - almost unbelievable. I prayed and tossed in bed unable to catch sleep. For a moment, a gloomy cloud of doubt hanged precariously in my mind. What if I was just about to witness the greatest disappointment in modern history? What if Barack the son of Obama loses? I tried to push the thought away as much as I could. I rejected the possibility with all of my might. Cold sweat of anxiety broke at the very moment. If something like that happened, I told myself, it would be the cruelest reality of modern history. I even fancied with the idea of rebuking God (why not? St. Peter did it) if God was to let it happen. But I still knew within myself that the possibility lay hidden somewhere in my sub-conscience like a leopard patiently lying waiting to pounce on its victim. I could only pray and hope for the best.

As I restlessly tossed and ranted within my inner being, something else reminded me that Barack Hussein Obama is the son of modern Kenyan elite Obama Senior. I hated the idea of associating Barack with the elites for he has proven to be a true son of the ghetto. Years, ago he let a career slip away so that he could organize folks from one of the many poor neighborhoods of affluent American society, Southside Chicago. But even as I thanked the almighty for such a noble young fellow who dared to hope, the thought of his origins still nagged me. In Kenya, the elite class is wrecking havoc to many millions like Barack Obama who dare hope. Poor folks in rural Kenya have found their dreams crashed and casted into the bottomless pit of fate. That class believes that nothing rules but itself. That class tramps the barefooted sons of the soil and march on over the empty stomachs of daughters of the soil. That class declares that Kenya has no hope or future unless it stays in power. So as I waited and watched results trickle in, I was anxious that Kenya (my country), while it may share the joy of an Obama’s presidency, it still had to grapple with the problems of destitution and poverty that the current class of the elite oversees. I felt really sad, and this almost stole my joy until the first news house predicted an Obama’s victory. I forgot my worries, as I witnessed, in elation and hope history unfolding.

After voting the Americans quietly gathered at their social places, homes, churches, mosques, and Public Square to await the outcome of their votes. They had exercised their democratic and God-given right. Their choice changed history. They reminded the world that there is something American worthy emulating; something noble and honorable, something loftier than a thousand bulls that Kibaki or Raila can offer for an Obama’s victory. In the world finest moment in history the Americans declared that the world had not heard nor had it seen the last of America. They elected Barack Obama; one raised by a single mother and his white grandparents; one who had lived a part of his life in Asia; a son of a Kenyan father; and one whose middle name is Hussein. Nothing can be more representative and inspiring than Barack Obama. He dared to hope and the Americans dared to believe in this man. I believe Barack Obama will make a great president and the Americans will never regret their resilience and power to reinvent. God bless America.