Time for change to happen

Anthony Chua

The ascension of democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to the highest post in the world’s largest economy was historical not only to the United States but also to the rest of the world. Just as Republican presidential contender John McCain conceded to the first US African-American president, the country with a record of racial oppression since its founding fathers declared her independence has at last surrendered to the principle that genius, popularity and power do not reside exclusively on a single race.

The opening paragraph of Obama’s speech on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008 after he’s officially proclaimed president-elect of the United States said it eloquently:

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”

Democracy has finally matured in the land of the free.

Yet as Obama enjoys his reaped 349-against-163-electoral-vote-victory over McCain, he has to sow political will perhaps more than what his predecessors have done. To save America and the rest of the world from economic turmoil is a gargantuan ordeal that lies ahead of him. The world, demanding for change like him, had been witnessing American history unfold. And when Obama was declared the winner, world leaders hailed him.

Whether because of frustration to the lackluster performance of the administration he succeeded or because of his charisma and eloquence that he is at the helm as arguably the most influential and the most powerful man in the present interconnected world, his immersion to diverse cultures has been a criteria that has made him more capable and viable to act on the global challenges today. The United States is a country made up mostly of English and Caucasians. Winning as a candidate that belongs to the minority is an indication that America believes that the solution comes from someone new – in thought, upbringing and color.

So for President–elect Obama to successfully lead America, he has to bring in change. He himself is a product of political and social changes in the US. Being a Black American could have easily disqualified him for the post before. But the recent election has proven that race and other labeling used for stereotyping and discrimination that would hinder someone from successfully serving the United States has lost its importance. What matters now is to make a wise choice on picking up the right man at the right job.

“[The turnout of the previous election was] the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.”

A major factor of Obama’s win is the trust Americans and other nationalities, regardless of race, religion, and political affiliation, has given him in the hope that once Obama resides in the White House, he will rule wisely without prejudice and special preference.

And because of this, he has to give back to his compatriots and fellow citizens of the world, including the Philippines, the trust and support that they have entitled him.

Obama can relate to the plight of the Philippines more than anyone seated in the White House. He spent his childhood days in Indonesia, a country proximate to the Philippines in terms of geography and culture. As an African-American, he most probably experienced discrimination like what Filipinos are undergoing in our relationship with foreigners. Perhaps he could understand the yearning of Filipino World War II veterans who fought alongside Americans in its battle for world peace to be honored and recognized accordingly like what their counterparts from other countries received. Perhaps he could fix immigration issues of Asian Americans under which the Filipinos belong. And perhaps he could implement strategies that would shore up the American economy that will tremendous effect the ailing global economic condition.

These are indeed monumental tasks that only a president with an enlightened and transformed mind and heart can accomplish. And these are the qualities Americans and nationalities all over the world have seen in the soon to be inaugurated 44th president of the United States of America who spoke:

“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.”

Congratulations and good luck, President Barack Obama!

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