Commentary Jamaica Magazine

Obama’s Presidency and what it means to me

Never since Jesus rode on a donkey into Nazareth did one man garner the pageantry and glory that captured the hopes of the entire world as did Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America.

43 Presidents before had served America in its highest office, but this time it was different. The President elect is the progeny of a Blackman from Kenya and a White American woman, making him an African American. (No pun intended.)

On January 20th 2009, the day after the national holiday named in celebratory memory of assassinated civil rights activist Martin Luther King (Jnr.) I, like millions of other people all over the world, tuned in to witness Obama’s inauguration and with the words, “so help me God” Obama lifted the weight of a troubled world onto his shoulders.

The world before was like a neglected child and by all indications still is, void of love, care and attention and now with new focuses on peace, the environment., the poor and the oppress, everyone’s expectancy of change seemed logical.

As I watched the inauguration, I realized right before my very eyes were the sons and daughters of a racist white America, holding hands, crying, rejoicing, and chanting the slogan of the Democratic Party “Yes we can!” perhaps in the reality of what Dr.Martin Luther King (Jnr.) dreamt about.

Indeed, I was humbled with pride to see a Blackman becoming the President of America but likewise, I felt the anger, hurt, pain and sufferings of those who had borne the yoke of discrimination, segregation, racism, oppression and injustice, beatings and lynching prodding and pushing against the evils of white supremacy for decades.

 Citizen and Nations of the world now hold the view that Obama’s presidency has transformed America or will transform it. They may even honestly believe that America will soften its tyrannical stance to a more reasonable, peaceful and acceptable approach.

The world is expecting America will bring about better relations with its perceived foes, less military aggression and a sense of fairness to sensitive issues of liberation. I remain very doubtful.

I held the same views back then in 1994 when Nelson Mandela became the first Black President of South Africa (and boy) was I right. What has change so far? Nothing meaningful thus far has changed. The people of SOWETO are no different now than they did while Nelson was on Robben Island, nor does their oppressors in Johannesburg or Pretoria.

I know that Obama being the president of America has provided us as a people with a platform we never once had, and so it is our walk in the sun and once more, as in the words of Marcus Garvey, the Blackman will make his impress upon civilization and cause a new light to dawn on the human race.
(Mi can only hope so)

About the author

Kharl Daley