Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama Wins

I have written much here about my thinking on Obama. I have repeatedly said that he would not win the presidency.

I was wrong. My analysis missed the massive heartfelt belief among many voters that Obama heralded historical hope and change.

Please allow me to congratulate my friends here and elsewhere who are celebrating their victory.

These are early moments. Here in South Africa Obama's election is being called "America's Madiba (Mandela) moment". I can see why to some extent.

In 1994 I voted for Nelson Mandela not because I was an African National Congress member, I was not.

I voted for Mandela because I wanted to believe that he represented a new epoch in the brutal modern history of South Africa. I remained hopeful and supportive through the honeymoon period and beyond.

My hope has faded. South Africa is not Mandela and Mandela proved not to be Mandela as he made decisions that confounded my thinking of what post-apartheid South Africa should have promised and achieved.

As far as race and racism go it is depressing to note that Obama did not even make a sizeable dent in the southern white vote. In fact, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and Al Gore were able to draw more votes from those southern white folk.

Race has not been solved.

Even worse, the racist war that the US supports and funds against Palestineans will coninue under the first black president and his self described Zionist VP.

Still, these are early days for Obama. I do not want to rain on anyone's parade but I am not hopeful alongside my friends who believe his is a new era.

Onward!

Image Credit

10 comments:

Dade said...

Hi, Ridwan.

Thanks for the congratulations.

Obama will undoubtedly disappoint and anger me in the years to come. But I'm hopeful that, on balance, he will do more good than harm.

There is euphoria here in my corner of Portland. Inevitably, reality will bring us all back down to earth, but today... today is a good day.

Ridwan said...

Thanks for looking in brother Dade. Your analysis of this election has been spot on for sure.

I was watching CNN last night and thinking through some of the points you have made over the weeks (months really).

Obama is no doubt a presidential figure and he appears sincere.

Eugene has written over his blog that Obama offers a small sliver of hope that things will change.

What impressed me was the manner that millions took their vote to the street.

The young kids who usually do not vote ... they voted.

Anyway, thanks for your presence here Dade ... it makes for compelling interaction.

Congratulations again!!

Peace,
Ridwan

Kashea said...

Truly a historical scene Brothaman the way in which people celebrated is interesting to say the least. I on the other hand am still reserving my pessemistic judgement for after he gets sworn in, if he makes it that far. Yet I must admit that deep inside my pessimistic mind there was a tiny voice that yell "In Yo Face Cracka!"
There was a feeling of rhighteousnes when I learned that a Black man beat an old racist white guy and a devilish white woman who has potrayed herself as a victim. There's something satisfying about that sight but the feeling quickly faded away knowing that regardless of who is in the White House, there is still a whitehouse and there is still a Bush in it which means there are no promises that the man will even make it to January.
Obama is a politician first and his angelic halo of hope is quickly fading. If Obama wants to impress the people the first thing he should do is press charges against bush right after bush passes the torch to him.
A silent prayer I say for this country and the world

Ridwan said...

Hey there Kashea. Good to hear from you brother. I trust you were at Pioneer Square kicking it with the folks :0)

I think he will make it to the White House. I worry about what he will do when he gets there.

This is so Hollywood. The truth is that Obama is not different than McCain and that is not good for the world outside of the US.

Still, enjoy yo' ass and have some fun for me too :0)

Peace and struggle,
Ridwan

Kashea said...

LOL Nah bro I was too cool to be at the pioneer square scene. Vee took some kids to the Obama HQ in N.E. and said they was havin a ball.. I decided to celebrate this mometously asanine moment at my moms house cracking mad jokes about the entire ordeal and how Jesse Jakson was trying to get a camera over to where he was at so America could see him crying. What a jackass.

GiGi - The Shy Giraffe said...

i guess, his inspiration speeches bring people from all walks of life to unite and hope for a better govt. nonetheless it's a good day for history has taken place.

Prasanth said...

March On Ridwan!
The camp of the skeptics seems immeasurably small now but commonsense and history suggest that it will only
increase and with good reason too.

I have been pulled in both directions for quite some time now. I have admired the amazing efficiency with which Obama has managed his campaign,displaying some superb conflict-avoidance skill. His rhetoric, even while it has sounded hollow, has still shone and it is something I have been attracted to. On the other hand are my firm knowledge that his world-view and mine are fundamentally different and my discomfort with the basic assumptions that run his campaign.

I supposed a lot of others have wrestled with these contradictions as well! The result was a great moment. But sadly, great moments rarely last!

Prasanth

Ridwan said...

Hey Kashea I was about to crack up when I watched Jesse tear up on TV.

The man is such a salesman.

When I was at Howard he was on stage with me and some other South Africans who were holding their clenched fists up in a black power salute (circa 1995) ... so his trifling ass joined them but he did a thumbs up salute.

When he was questioned about the gesture by the press he said it was a thumbs up not a political statement.

F*ckwit ;0)

You be good now and tell moms I said hello.

Peace and struggle,
Ridwan

Ridwan said...

Hello Gigi:

Thanks for your comment sista. You know the big D. channel is gonna be doing Obama specials for years to come ... :0)

I hear you on the hope sista.

You be well on the Island and keep having fun.

Peace,
Ridwan

Ridwan said...

Prasanth it is a pleasure to read you again. You have captured so much in your comment.

Thank you.

Obama rubs me the wrong way not because I want to begrudge Americans their moment of hope, etc.

I am concerned that the man will continue the arrogant and abusive American presence in world affairs.

The Middle East is a mess because of the US and its "war on terror".

Obama is hardly prepared to end that abuse. Instead we hear him talking about bringing down those who challenge the world order.

When I heard him say that I thought he must be talking about the US.

What other nation-state is embroiled in two wars it cannot win? Yet he talks as if the US has a right to be in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here in SAfrica there are the usual 'development' drunk beggars who think that Obama's African roots will mean a better deal for the continent and SAfrica.

This is not the first time these kinds of fools have held their hands out to a new American president.

Carter was the first president that folks said would reorient US-Africa relations. He did not.

He never even visited the continent while he was in office.

Clinton watched while Rwanda and Burundi burnt. He offered the continent the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act that has made African states poorer.

Both these men hardly reoriented US-Africa relations. The same will be true for Obama ... perhaps even less will come from him.

Obama will be very savvy not to be too closely tied to folks of color just in case he pisses off the white folks that Oprah primed for him.

Africa means very little to most Americans of all colors ... Obama knows that.

Again, thank you for your comment. It made me think of those folk who set aside their radical posturing to vote for this fool.

It is the usual nonsense hey ... revolutions are not built on rhetoric and narrow personal interests.

If they lived in Palestine and watched Obama cozy up with the Israeli's while their kin were massacred then it would be a whole different story.

But then again America is about self-obsessed introspection that makes such a selling out quite normal.

'From the outhouse to the White House' is hardly a revolution for committed soldiers who know that the stakes are bigger than just America's race politics.

When Obama betrays the hopes of the delusional, and he will, the politics of resistance will only have grown stronger.

Peace to you Prasanth,
Ridwan