WE ARE THE PRESIDENT – Shewayilma Kidane (Germany)

November 4th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

“ … I can probably would not be standing here today as Secretary of State. …” Dr. Condoleeza Rice remarked, At Rosa Parks funeral in 2005 (more…)

“ … I can probably would not be standing here today as Secretary of State. …” Dr. Condoleeza Rice remarked, At Rosa Parks funeral in 2005

Two years ago or so, I read on DER SPIEGEL ( Germany’s newsmagazin) an exclusive interview with Illinois Senator Barack Obama. That was the beginning of me being an admirer of Mr Obama. Dr. Martin Luther King yearned for a time when Blacks as Americans would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their Character. What matters in a presidential race of this magnitude and importance is Character. Mr John McCain who benefits from an even more extraordinary gift: his occasional apologies for various lapses of character are held in store for him as proof of great character. And on the other hand, there is Mr Obama, a man who has, to date, a relatively short political career, and not the time in which to have made mistakes, and in whose case the absence of lapses of character are taken as proof of character – a most generous gift. Of the two, Mr Obama was clearly the candidate character favours and finally Americans voted for him. Thanks to god, today, four decades later Dr. King’s dream has become true. America’s vote pointed to its future rather than its past.

The Civil Rights Act of 1965, passed two years after Dr. king led the historic march on Washington where he delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech. The struggle of African-Americans for equal rights and opportunities in their homeland and pays tribute to the movers of civil rights movement who made an Obama candidacy possible in 2008. This historic result must be seen as part of the struggle for Black Equality in America. President Obama once as a senator said that Carl Stokes election as the first African-American mayor of a major american city (Cleveland) inspired future leaders to take on the challenge of public office. It’s leader like carl Stokes who made my life in public service possibilty. The seeds of Obama’s political future were planted during the May 2004 Democratic Primary Campaign. The night Mr Obama became the Democratic nominee was the night that all Americans of African, European, Hispanic or any other descent became one. For the first time in American history, an African-American has clinched the Democratic party’s presidential nomination. There is no doubt that Mr Obama changes the mindset of Americans.

Today, something new is happening in America. Until November 4, I never thought even for a fraction seconds that America would be ready for African-American President. President Barack Obama is the first African-American or non-European-descended person to rule America since the country’s independence from Britain 232 years ago. What would Booker Taliaferro Washington, William Du Bois, Malcom X, Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks say ? By the way, I am admirer of Mr Malcom X who was a radical advocate for the rights of African-Americans. President Obama has liberated the minds of all Americans of non-European descent. I think, President Obama has showed that African Americans, Ethiopian Americans and other non-European descent should not stop at certain level, but they can go beyond and get the best and the highest position the country can offer. I hope that it is time for Ethiopian-Americans who have interest in politics to join either Republican or Democratic party and to run for the US Congress. Let’s hope that if not today, tomorrow we will see an Ethiopian-American Congress man and/or Congress woman in the US Congress. Mr Obama’s achievement completely will change America’s image around the world. I strongly blieve in change. Let’s hope that , we africans and african diaspora, today have the hope that we have never, ever had before.

Mr Obama didn’t get into race thinking. I had and still have a great deal of respect for President clinton. During election campaign, Clinton’s attemp to box in Obama by referring to him as the black candidate and his other allusions to Obama’s race meant as racial signalling to the largely white electorate that Obama is not one of them, but another. And this, from a man referred to by many African-Americans as America’s first black president. That was the moment, where I have asked to myself again and again, what happend to persident cinton ?! Though, in the end, both Clinton’s endorsed Obama and offered him their support at the Democratic party’s national convention. Leaving the Clinton aside, what surprising me was that even some African-Americans go further and said that obama isn’t black enough. With Obama’s election as a President, race as an issue has been vanquished in America. The winners of this election are liberal Americans of all color and races. And, of course the losers are traditional racists like Ku Klux Klan and other like groups.

Many Africans and within the african diaspora, myself included, believe more or less the US Policy towards Africa will remain the same. So what ? President Obama is a single person. The President has to work with institutions, lobbyists and different pressure groups. In short, President Obama has to work with the Establishment. I support Mr Obama, it is not because as the British man says: ” Everybody loves the Winner.” But, it is because one of us become the president of the United States of America (USA). It is because we are the president. I will always support Mr Obama as long as he remains in politics. Congratulation, Mr President.

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