The Dream Comes True

Barack Obama elected 44th President of the United States

It has been almost two weeks since the election that brought Sen. Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, to victory and the height or power -- the presidency of the United States. Obama achieved what has never been done -- convincing the majority white electorate in the United States that his talent and personality is more important than skin color, race, or ethnic background. Obama's father was a black Kenyan, and his mother was a white woman from Kansas, so in effect, he is also America's first bi-racial president (not withstanding all the reports of previous presidents having some African-American heritage). 

Image: Sign stating "Vote for Change" and Obama rally crowd





At Obama's Manassas Rally, Nov. 3, 2008

How did now President-Elect Obama do it? First, the power of his personality, the effectiveness of his ideas, and the organization of his campaign all combined to show that he has the traits of not just a good president, but a great president. Next, at this point in history, the United States is experiencing severe economic difficulties. A housing industry in the doldrums, a financial system driven by greed and corruption, dependence on foreign oil, a massive national debt, trade imbalance, and federal deficit -- all weigh heavy on the budgets of the average American. Obama represented a path toward economic relief. He outlined measures that stand a chance for America's economic direction to be altered and improved. 

Critics might say the American voter just wanted a shift from eight years of the Bush approach to governing, which involved pre-emptive military attacks, massive spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, unfettered free trade, deregulation of key financial industries, and an unrestrained Wall Street, but others might say that Obama stood for a basic shift in American politics, 

not towards socialism, and his opponent John McCain claimed, but toward a more responsible and effective government. Americans in large numbers rejected the "politics of division" and saw an opportunity for change. That is what Barack Obama represented.

When President-Elect Obama takes the oath of office on January 20, 2009, he will bring into reality a dream that was described by Dr. Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. He called for Americans to judge his four little children "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Obama missed those years of struggle during the Civil Rights Movement; he will be the fourth youngest president to take that office at age 47. But his election extends Dr. King's dream into a reality that many African-Americans never thought they would see become a reality in their lifetime. He symbolizes their progress in American society and the growth that America has experienced in terms of its racial attitudes. There is no doubt much work remains. Racist extremists have been energized and threats against the new president are increasing on a daily basis. We can only pray and trust in God that he will protect the President-Elect and his family so that the tragedies of the loss of our great civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy not be repeated in America. 

The world has celebrated Sen. Obama's victory as a step forward towards the realization of America's democratic ideals. The United States, through the will of its electorate, has demonstrated that it not only espouses the importance of democracy, but, as Dr. King described called for, the nation also "lives out the true meaning of its creed." While we acknowledge President-Elect Obama's victory over racism, we look forward to the day when such a victory does not even need to be part of the American political lexicon.

George Cassutto
November 16, 2008
Teacher, Author, Webmaster

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