Bridge over the deepest divides

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  • Updated: Nov 06, 2008 00:57 IST

Let’s say it straight: Barack Hussein Obama can change the world.

By sending him to the White House, the United States can again show leadership in tackling, for starters, an all-consuming economic crisis that started in its backyard and threatens to consume the world. 

For Obama to be president of the world’s most powerful country — a country where 143 years ago he might have been only a slave, a country that segregated the races right up to the 1960s — sends out a strong message across the globe about America today.

The 44th president of the US stands out as a beacon of hope for all those struggling to make it to the top in their own societies.

Obama and America have shown that countries can bridge the deepest of divides. While the empowerment of African-Americans is built into the act of sending Obama to the Oval Office, it couldn’t have been possible without the support of White America.

An Obama victory is like India electing a Muslim to be prime minister. Yes, we have a Sikh PM.

But as our democracy matures, surely, a Muslim — or Dalit — as PM is not an outlandish possibility.

Watching Barack Obama in victory and John McCain in defeat has been a humbling experience. One was magnanimous in victory, the other graceful in defeat.

McCain may have run an occasional below-the-belt campaign. But the 72-year-old’s acceptance speech was a lesson in political correctness.

We can only hope that our politicians were watching.

The Obama phenomenon and the economic crisis have made us forget the tragedies of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; a legacy of President George W. Bush, the most unilateral and divisive of recent American chief executives. It's time to heal those wounds.

For the moment, it is time to celebrate a historic moment — not only for America, but for the world.


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