Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President-elect Obama

It'd be hard to overstate the implication of yesterday's result in the American election. Less than half a century after the Civil Rights movement, a black man became President (-elect) of the United States. Not only that, but he won it by fighting against an opponent that was a widely known, widely liked war hero before the race started. He out-maneuvered the two best political machines in the country, the Clinton and the Atwater/Rove Republicans, in what is probably the best-run Democratic Presidential campaign of the past several decades. In the short term, the Obama administration will have repercussion on the domestic and foreign policy fronts but I think it's important to mention some more long term, less tangible but no less real impacts of yesterday's results.

Yesterday's result will not change race relations overnight or make the importance of race disappear. But they'll allow the debate to move forward. It'll be very hard for cynics to claim that the US is fundamentally a racist country and blacks have no chances of succeeding. It'll be a country where young African-American (and other minorities) have an extremely positive role-model who showed that the everything is indeed possible. It's the ultimate consecration of the American Dream, that everything can be achieved through hard work in America, no matter what your middle name is or where your parent came from.

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