Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Audacity of Hope

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Martin Luther King, Jr

[I’ve a dream speech on August 28, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom -- defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement]

King must be turning in his grave in Fulton county. For this truly is a defining moment in America’s history. Forty years after King was shot dead, a fellow black has just managed to do the impossible. Moments ago I heard the victory speech. It was a change everyone yearned for. After all the theatrics, the show-off and endless hate campaigns -- the apogee turned out to be sweet. Subjected to years of exclusion and faced with the worst form of racial divide, for the black community, as for the ordinary American, this is the day of deliverance.

America has finally turned the page. On Nov 4, 2008 -- a black man, with an un-American surname, a Muslim middle-name and zero political pedigree got elected to the most powerful position in the world. Obama triumphed. In his triumph, hope shone bright -- again -- in the USA. Rev Jesse Jackson, another of those tireless civil rights giants, standing in Grant Park in downtown Chicago, wept slowly as Barack thanked people. Many more sobbed in joy. It was, perhaps, a catharsis America badly needed. After years of blood-letting, terror mongering, hate politics and a notoriously incompetent president, here was a breather at last. In a greatly inter-connected world, it means a lot for all of us. My eyes went tenderly moist.

Barack beat all odds to become the 44th president of the US of A. He went from state to state, coast to coast, turf upon turf, taking on the extremely well-entrenched, politically experienced McCain. And it was not easy. During the tortuous and often grueling election campaign he continually displayed remarkable level-headedness. Relentlessly under fire, Obama continued to inspire hope and audacity. Dislodging the Washington DC cabal was never going to be a cake walk. There were ugly incidents and shrill media campaigns but ultimately the raw power of people, the youth and those on the margins prevailed. All lobbyists of the world couldn’t stop the tide, as real America spoke up. And loud.

Obama’s magic lay in his charisma. His appeal cut across the board – white and black, East to West Coast, students and workers and more importantly -- the youth. People absolutely loved his policies. His promises. His energy. The glint in his eye and the frankness in his voice struck an immediate, intimate chord. He made the good old decent political debates -- the fulcrum of any civilized society -- fashionable again. Armed with a degree from Harvard and record of social activism, Barack promised change. His ideas impressed. He was someone uncontaminated by DC. And he looked the correct answer to everything wrong about Bush and his mad-men.

Who would have thought that the son of a Kenyan black man would one day be the most powerful person on earth. America made it possible. The threshold was crossed by epic voter turnout across the country. It was a clean sweep -- and the choice was clear: Obama.

Color, finally gave way to character. This is indeed the heralding of a new dawn. Time to relegate a vicious legacy to the dustbin of history has come. King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and James Weldon Johnson must raise a quiet toast in the sky.

True -- it can happen in America alone. The country continues to instill hope. It proved that tonight.


[Suhail, my buddy, an Obama supporter chills out on the victory night in Harlem, NYC]

[My American friends, capture the joy of Obama victory, at midnight, New York]

[The victory speech]