Barack Hussein Obama, a democratic senator from Illinois, has made history today, becoming the first African American to make a successful run at obtaining the presidential nomination of a major political party in the United States. Given the history and nature of race relations in USA, his nomination is a victory not only for him and the Democratic party, but a victorious attempt by all the people of America to free themselves from the chains of a negative past.
Barack's success demonstrates the progressive nature of the Democratic party and serves as a reminder as to why the majority of minority Americans affiliate themselves with this party. Although the presidential elections are still some months away, the majority of American seem to be buying into the theme of "change," which has been the major theme of Mr. Obama's campaign.
Mr. Obama did not win the presidential nomination easily. His main opponent, Senator Hillary Clinton from New York, the Wife of two term president William Jefferson Clinton, put up a formidable challenge. Senator Clinton is tough, intelligent and detail oriented and she matched senator Obama's wit and eloquence by raising questions about his experience and his expressed desire to talk to "rogue" leaders without preconditions. Senator Clinton however had been one of the senators that had voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq, and with the war being so unpopular, and Senator Obama being opposed to it from the beginning, he was successfully able to link her to the war at the early part of the campaign.
During the later part of the campaign both camps had to deal with accusations of racism and sexism due to the fact that it was the first time in the history of the country that an African American and a woman both had a serious chance of being elected to lead the nation and both camps were enthusiastic and extremely sensitive about their candidates. It is now fervently hoped by leaders of the democratic party that the two camps would bury their differences and come together to fight the general election in November. Most democratics agree that Senators Obama and Clinton have very similar aims; an end to the war in Iraq, universal health care, empowerment and extension of the middle class, renegotiation of free trade policies, the resurgence of American mamufacturing potential, to name but a few, and it would be in the interest of the country for them to unite to fight Republican party nominee John McCain who is seen as representing a third term of George Bush, who is currently very unpopular.
Anybody taking up the mantle of presidency after president Bush faces a Herculean task. The American economy is currently weak, still reeling from the combined effects of the subprime mortgage crisis, the weak dollar, rising gas prices, a five year war in Iraq and a still older one in Afghanistan. Creditors are unwilling to lend and consumer confidence, the main driver of the American economy is very low. Many manufacturers are shipping production to countries with low costs of labor and American car producers, who had devoted substantial resources to the production of gas guzzling SUVs are now scaling back production and hence employment as the demand for SUVs and Trucks are declining due to high gas prices. The American people are however resilient and hardworking, and with the right leadership, the country will likely bounce back.