Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Obama's Nomination - A Historic Moment

It's been mentioned a couple times throughout this Democratic convention, the historic nature of this year's Campaign for the two Democratic Nominees. On Aug 26th, we had the anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, allowing women to vote, and we also have the 45th anniversary of the great "I have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King Jr, a leader of civil rights for ALL MEN AND WOMEN.

Given these two significant moments in time, it can not be understated, how momentous and historic this Democratic Convention has been. This Democratic Party is a testament and a shining example of what makes America so great. We had this year, two very serious and different candidates for the Democratic Nominee for President of the United States. We had not only the first female nominee, but also the first black nominee.

If you were to go to any Developed Nation, you will not find anyone who would not be amazed by this. Having lived and travelled outside the US, the most common perception that the International Community held of the US, is that in America, anyone can have the opportunity to make something of themselves, and to accomplish great things. America has always been considered the "land of opportunity", even though it hasn't always treated it's incoming immigrants with open arms.

In addition to this great legacy, the US is also known for it's democratic values and fierce devotion to freedom. In this respect, America is apart from other countries, especially with regards to freedom and individual rights. In a specific example, we can look at the judicial process. In the US, the Constitution as crafted by our founding fathers, makes it very clear that unreasonable search and seizure is not permitted. Unlike in other countries, even Canada, the litmus test for search and seizure is not as stringent as in the US. This is how unique our Constitution is - the founding fathers were very focused on the rights of men and the role of democracy. Take for example, the Freedom of Speech. In other countries, you don't have such a clear cut freedom of speech. So it makes me both sad and angry to see how America's moral responsibility and the principles of our Constitution are being systematically destroyed by the Bush Administration.

They were able to do this, by crafting shady and grey loopholes where the argument of "national security" trumped everything. Using the concept of fear, in light of 9/11, the Bush Administration has kidnapped all reasonable thinking, and perverted our Constitution, and made a mockery of the Geneva Convention. Our moral standing in the world has fallen, and it makes it very difficult for us to influence other countries and tell them "Do as I say, not as I do". What moral leg do we have to stand on to tell dictators and fascist nations to stop suppressing human rights, and to stop torture, for example China.

The reason why Barack Obama was so popular in his European and Middle Eastern Tour was not because he was some empty-headed lightweight, but rather, what amazed and intrigued everyone was his sincere interest, his intellect, and open mindedness. Moreover, in many of the countries, the general population were just simply in awe of what this man represents, and what he has accomplished. As much as we disparage the "race card", we simply can not ignore the fact that we have an extremely qualified candidate to be POTUS, and who happens to be black. In many Western Countries, the idea of electing as a President or Prime Minister, a black candidate, is unthinkable. As much as the French pride themselves on equality and egality, this simply would not happen. They, like other Western Countries, are homogeneous nations, but for America, the melting pot, it has not only become a possibility, but a reality.

Yet while we have made huge strides in civil rights, and respecting others regardless of race, sex, or religion, we still have more to do. And while we should be celebrating the fact, that Obama is living proof, that when you study and work hard, and you take control of your destiny, anything can happen. Sadly there are those who in the darkest parts of their minds, will wonder - "how did he get to Harvard? How come he had it easy? How dare he, a black person, have a better life than me?" There are those who will vehemently deny that they are racist, but oftentimes, it's given away in the statements they make, and the comments they make to disparage Obama.

I honestly don't know what will happen on election day. My hope is that Americans will be able to look beyond race, and choose the candidate that truly reflects the best future for America.
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