Monday, 17 November 2008

Relfections on the victory

A lot no doubt has already been said about Barrack Obama's triumph in the US elections that have firmly etched his name in history as the first African American to win. This of course not being his only first as he was the first African American candidate to win nomination for the presidency. It all looks like a fairy tale but it really is true. I never for once thought that I'd see the day when somebody other than a white man would rise to the most powerful office in the land. In fact when the writer of 24 created a black president it looked very highly unlikely little did we know that a few years later the fiction would become reality.

As an African I'm proud to see a man of colour in that office more so when his father hailed from my home country of Kenya. It's amazing the way we've taken him to be one of our own yet his father was largely absent during his upbringing. I'll not dwell too much on this but will instead focus on another aspect of this story that makes it so inspiring.

Four years ago Barrack introduced himself to the world with an outstanding speech a the democratic national convention when he was still a senate candidate. Right there everybody sensed something special about the “skinny guy with a funny name.” Some had already started seeing him as a atrong contender for the presidency. That was his moment and he had to strike while the iron was hot. he easily won his senate seat as well as the hearts and minds of many Americans who saw him as a symbol of hope and as expected he eventually announced his candidacy for the presidency.

That decision in itself was very bold- a first time senator and more to that a young black man running for president. The odds seemed to be stacked against him but he kept on. Even during the democratic primaries his main rival Hillary Clinton kept highlighting his inexperience and after the initial predictions you would have thought he didn't stand a chance. Honestly even I myself did not see him succeeding against the Clinton name and a white woman looked somewhat more likely to win the nomination than a black man. the first few results may have been discouraging but he stood firm and so did his supporters behind his slogan of “Yes We Can”

His was a different campaign giving hope to a country that needed it. While Hillary kept trying to attack him, he maintained his cool and overtook her in the race and finally clinched the nomination. Even I was surprised at the turn of events and after my initial scepticism became a believer. That stage finished he went on to face John McCain who looked well past his sell by date and couldn't match the youthful enthusiasm and charisma of his opponent. Desperation set in and his nomination of a female Vice presidential candidate proved to be a flop. The rest as they say is history.

One thing that stands out in this his whole story is how he seized the moment. he could have backed down and said that he needed more experience or that the country was not ready for him. However he cast the doubts aside and went straight for it, it's really admirable as it can be so easy to avoid the risk and stay in a comfort zone but as the saying goes a ship is safe in the harbour but that is not what it was made for. I can not say any more about his feat but it has shown us that when you believe in something and make use of the opportunity truly great feats can be achieved- truly Yes We Can!