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Mother's perspective: The Obama Effect

Mother's perspective: The Obama Effect

by Sadia Ali Aden

The body, the mind and the soul were all ready; but, the night was long and the morning was painfully a distant dream. It was around 2 AM, the night before the 2008 presidential election, when I tossed and hastily checked the time to sadly realize that I still had 4 more hours to wait before I could cast my vote.

I laid and reflected in the dark, dreaming of the possibilities that await all of us, Americans and non-Americans alike. Electing President Barack Hussein Obama to reassert United States as the land of opportunity-where people of all races and creed can dream and reach their highest potentials.

Then came the day when I enthusiastically casted my vote; the old-fashioned way, via paper ballot. The state of Virginia was providing the electronic as well the paper. As I voted on for President Obama, I reminded myself that my vote, like the votes of millions like-minded Americans, that I am voting for someone who has the potential to become America's beacon of hope. A beacon of hope that affords America the opportunity to heal the wounds of the tormented, and reverse the rising anti-Americanism and Islamophobia around the world.

Obama's victory is a broad-based embrace of the 1960s civil rights movement when activists protested against the practices that deprived African-Americans of equal rights and opportunities. It is a revolution, a "non violent revolution", as Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, a longtime civil rights activist, articulated so well. The foot soldiers of this were across section of the youth- a segment of the population often seen as a non-factor. It was their persistence and devotion to change America that was contagious. Personally, I found boost of inspiration in the relentless effort that my nieces invested in mobilizing voters. I am optimistic of the future that they and others like them become our social and political activists; our leaders indeed.

Then, slowly came the night. The President Elect Barack Obama took the stage in front of thousands of cheering supporters in Chicago's Grant Park and millions around the world glued to their TV sets, radios, computer screens, mobile phones and other hand-held devices.

What followed were the inspirational words that America and the world were yearning to hear. Words that will ring through history: "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."

This was the night when America has elected the least likely candidate- a man whom all the odds worked against. This was the night that America told the world "Yes we can". This was the night when America kindled hope back in the hearts of many of its citizens who felt disenfranchised. The African Americans constrained by the glass ceiling of power; the Latinos whose collective voice was taken for granted; and the Muslims, natives and naturalized, who felt alienated and ostracized for the last eight years.

Reiterating his motto, Obama reminded the multitude of people that, despite their differences, they, as Americans and as human beings, have a common fate. "Our story is singular, but our destiny is shared," he said.

There is a hope of revival and recovery. A hope to revive a financial sector that is in turmoil and an economy that is in shambles; a hope to end the senseless wars, reinforce America's security and rectify a foreign policy that failed, and failed miserably.

As an American, I believe rebuilding our economy and enhancing our human capital is a must. By the same token, I believe we are morally compelled to end the senseless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that claimed thousands of lives and wasted billions of American tax payers' money.

Lastly, I believe America can regain the respect and admiration of the world by ending what became known as the Bush Doctrine-- a doctrine notoriously driven by hate, bigotry and brutal force rather than diplomacy-- by ending the so-called global war on terrorism, and the unchecked support to brutal warlords and tyrants who partner with us in sustaining that perpetual war scheme. In doing so, President Obama will be sending a genuine message of hope to the world that America is ready to partner in upholding justice and ending oppression.

While in his own admission, as a human being he is bound to make mistakes, I believe, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell aptly described him, President Obama is "a transformational figure" and the right leader to restore America's image world-wide. He is a global citizen whom people around the world could find one connection or another to draw to him.

aI hope that he will succeed and fulfill the cultivation of the ideal know as "One Nation, Under God, with Liberty and justice for all". I hope he aspires to extend that promise to a world that is utterly brutalized and dreadfully mortified.

I cannot help but muse the day when my children, and other children in America, look at portraits of the American presidents on walls in schools across the country and take a second look at number 44. How much inspiration will my children who are black, Muslim, East African, and the first generation Americans find in that evidence of hope, persistence and perseverance?

Indeed an era in American history has ended. Like millions of American children, my daughter and son can now dream that one day they too can become the leaders of this great nation.


Sadia Ali Aden is a peace activist and a writer whose work has appeared in various publications

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