Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
November 10, 2008
Obama offers hope of new beginnings to the world
The election of Barack Obama as president of the United States is a positive moment in history. It symbolizes and embodies the resilience of the United States, a country many say is past its prime, but which many more would like to see rekindle its founding ideals.
The last eight years have not been kind to America's place in the world. The dark side of America – its repressive militarism, unilateralism, and profiteering and greed – has been dominant. Amazingly, most of the world has not given up on America.
Obama symbolizes something much brighter than the recent past. He was an early opponent of the Iraq War and, standing up to the unfair campaign to label him a socialist, he favours an America that is economically fairer. He is committed to cooperation with those nations that also want to cooperate.
Obama will not bring radical change. But he stands for a different attitude. One can hope that as president he will continue to embody that attitude.
In the United States, the popular vote was close. Obama received 52 per cent of the vote; John McCain, 46 per cent. But the rest of the world was not divided at all. Canadians favoured Obama by a five to one margin; in Poland, it was three to one; in Brazil, six to one; in France, 11 to one; in Kenya, 17 to one.
Moreover, the world has watched this election with much greater interest than previous U.S. presidential elections. The world has yearned for the "change" about which Obama spoke so eloquently.
We need to express deep concern about Obama's record of support for legal abortion and apparent indifference to unborn human life. That support and indifference contradict his commitment to respect for the vulnerable.
But we also note that Obama's record is one of seeking the middle ground, of trying to overcome polarization. If he brings that approach to life issues, his presidency may provide more pleasant surprises than that of previous presidents who mouthed pro-life platitudes but did little to advance the pro-life cause.
Obama will be America's first black president. That, in itself, says a lot about his country's desire and ability to overcome its tortured past. But Obama succeeded because he represents much more than a black man running for the highest office in the land. The change he stands for embodies the quest for high ideals over the pursuit of self-interest.
This is the kernel of Obama's greatness. If that seed grows and flowers, it will be another of America's finest hours. The greatest hindrance, as always, is fear. Fear not only from those opposed to Obama, but also the fear that exists in every person and in every movement. May fear be overcome and may America again show the world its greatness.
Letter to the Editor - 11/24/08
Letter to the Editor - 12/15/08
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