I was in Belgium as the Americans were casting their ballots. I could see that Europe was waiting like me- anxiously- for the outcome. Not only the blacks, many of the browns and the yellows too wanted Obama to win. Perhaps they did not care who beat the white candidate but just that the white candidate should be beaten. You need some such victories to erase the humiliation which the coloured races have suffered at the hands of the white. There was also some bile against Bush and it was rubbing off on Mc Cain because of his association with Bush.
I got chatting with an old friend of mine. He is a 62 year old Belgian White. He gave me an interesting perspective on race and history.
He said though the ideas of the French revolution – liberty, fraternity and equality- were seeping in to the minds and attitudes of people, the main reasons why the colonial powers withdrew from the colonies was because of Jealousy of those who stayed home against the riches which were gained by those who went to plunder (administer) the colonies.
Another reason why people who stayed back clamored for immediate emancipation of the colonies was that they did not realize that the plunder of decades had left the native populations unable to rule themselves.
I looked at race relations with new eyes and what the psephelogists were saying started making sense to me.
There were only 37% blacks in America. So who else voted for Obama. The poor white man voted for him. In his mind he is further away from the rich White than he is from the Black. The young voted for him.
America somewhere wanted to regain its pride. They felt that the anti Bush feeling of the world is justified. (A large part of the world believed that Bush had done the worst sacrilege possible- infringe on the boundary of a nation for unjustified reason- let us discuss whether Bush did the right things in my next piece). America decided to distance itself from Bush and stand with the world.
When the results were announced- several people shared with me – that they had shivers down their spine and so did I. Later on the Television channels said the same. It was a water shed. First Hillary and then Mc Cain- the Goliaths beaten by the David. But was it only that the underdog won that gave us goose pimples? No it was the years of struggle. From slavery, to acute discrimination, to Rosa Park that black woman in the bus who refused to sit in the section reserved for blacks- and who restarted it all. To the struggles of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela and to such struggles all over the world.
When in his Victory speech Obama said God bless America- God had Blessed America, India, China, Africa and every other populace which has been oppressed.
This great nation America, which I have criticized often, has once again shown that it has the ability to learn from its mistakes and move forward- and really provide the leadership that the world expects from it. Yet another time America has spoken and the world is cheering.