January 20, 2009 will be a red letter day not only for the Americans but for all the under privileged sections. History was created when 47 year old Obama, having a troubled childhood, took oath as the 44th President of the U.S.A. For the prosperous and hitherto carefree Americans, change of guard at the top every four years is not something new. This year, it was special and unusual because a member of an immigrant African American community had won decisively for the supreme position for the first time.
It goes without saying that barely forty five years ago none of them had a right to vote. Many of them are still subjected to racial discriminations and assaults. No wonder, braving bone numbing cold, a large number of them had assembled for the big event at the National Mall and for the ‘curtain raiser’ at the Lincoln Memorial, the previous day.
The triumph of cyber savvy Obama has been made possible due to rare unity among the rapidly emerging immigrant community as also gradual loss of ‘White’ faith in George Bush on account of his many divisive policies, meddling in Iraq and his apparent failure to control the domestic economy which resulted in loss of three million jobs. It could be, therefore, considered positive as also negative exercise of franchise.
The meteoric rise of son of an erstwhile Kenyan from a Senator to the President in less than five years is momentous by any reckoning. The way he spoke, campaigned and carried himself forward, sets brilliant standards. He appears to posses the required capability, appeal and the charisma which enables him to deliver concise, balanced and effective speeches having substance and conviction. Due to his sheer hard work and determination he has transformed into a magnificent orator, a quality gained and inculcated normally only after years of experience. The way he speaks, he promises a fair degree of optimism and shows a certain ray of hope to the people from various walks of life.
At his meticulously organised ‘inauguration’, he displayed courtesy and humility right from the outset. He conveyed everything powerfully without resorting to any direct criticism. What he did not refer to-the concerns arising from global warming, faith and determination of Americans, the famous inspirational words of George Washington, their capability to draw strength from the Christians, Muslims, Jews ,Hindus, and the non-believers etc?. Though any mention of Israel-Palestine conflict or Pakistan was avoided, his statement,” Why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand (before you) to take a most sacred oath” was not only touching but it may have brought tears to many eyes. His tough message to the elements perpetrating terror will be welcomed everywhere provided the grounds are facilitated for the actual crackdown.
He has raised expectations of people hailing from diverse nationalities. Can he deliver or will he be allowed to swim against the tide? The expression that only time will tell may perhaps be inappropriate in this case for the simple reason that an US President gets roughly four years to understand, correct and modify. On his part, he has cautiously stated that “meeting any of these challenges will not be easy”.
His top two priority tasks, withdrawal of troops from Iraq and closing down the Guantanamo Bay prison may be accomplished if his allies back his will and determination. Putting the economy back on the rails, however, may take longer than expected. Obama, the fourth youngest person to occupy the coveted oval office, deserves more time to perform.