As I write this, I remember a song by Jamaica’s biggest musical export, the legendary Bob Marley. One of the reggae prodigy’s best known tracks was the deeply inspiring composition ‘Redemption Song’.A line from this classic went thus: ‘’Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.’’ So, how’s this relevant?, you may wonder.Well,I’ll tell you how.
I’m sure most of you would easily agree that the current US presidential race has kept millions across the globe glued with passionate interest. We have seen history unfold in our eyes, as an African-American and a strong woman fiercely battled it out for the nomination of a major American party. On the republican side, we have witnessed the first ever female VP nominee ever to emerge.
Now, I must admit that I was one of many who was initially apprehensive about Senator Obama’s chances in getting this far. And it had a lot to do with his colour.However, my naïve & somewhat primitive views changed after his remarkable victory in the first democratic primary in Iowa back in January.Guys,the state of Iowa’s population is over 95% white. In that race, he won clearly and left the previously ‘favoured’ candidate, a stunned Senator Hillary Clinton, in 3rd place. Well, his unexpected success there got me interested in the 47-yr old man from Illinois. I started reading more about him, his career, his beliefs, his remarkable background etc.And so I became hooked. As time passed, the skilled charismatic orator continued to rack up more victories as the primaries continued, to the disbelief of many still entrenched in cynical times of the past (His 10 consecutive victories during the electoral calendar were a significant highlight of his applaud-worthy progress earlier in the year).So, despite Senator Osama’s history making nomination as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, many cynics still believe the chap can’t win. On what basis? Because he’s black and blacks have never ruled? Isn’t there a first time for everything? After all, wasn’t Obama the 1st African-american to be nominated for President by a major political party? By the way, he needed and received the votes & support from millions white people to get there.It’s true that there are those americans who would never(ever) vote for him primarily because of his colour.But there aren’t many of such people still affiliated to those racist(& pathetic) philosophies of their forefathers. And if one delves deeper, you’ll see that they tend to be members of the other political party(an association with a 93% white membership, by the way).Like I have told a few friends, Barack Obama getting the nomination was evidence of the changing times & mindset of America. Black people alone didn’t give him the ticket. As I mentioned, it was courtesy of millions of white folks. So why are some of the cynics in our midst still basing their argument on the Caucasian Americans who have clearly acted otherwise, by voting for Barack in dozens of American states this year?
Now, only God knows who would be elected to this most exalted of public offices later in the year. And it may not be Barack Obama.However, that may be due to american voters’ views & priorities vis a vis the way they perceive the candidates on various issues such as their take on the economy, health care,trust,foreign policy and so on. It could even be based on the votes of the ‘currently undecided’/independents out there. For me,& based on the occurrences I’ve observed in the exciting US political race this year, Mr Obama stands as much of a chance at victory as Senator John McCain, come November 4th.And to those who say colour would still be his downfall, I recommend you listen to Mr Marley’s Redemption Song once more.
Remember,you are as limited as your dream.