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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Barack Obama: A defining moment in history

 At the 2004 Democratic National Convention on July 27th Obama said “Lets face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely”. He went on to say “that in no other country on earth is my story even possible”. And with this speech Barack  Obama  erupted on the American political scene.

On October 19th 2006, David Brooks wrote “It may not be personally convenient for him, but the times will never again so completely require the gifts that he possesses. Whether you’re liberal or conservative, you should hope Barack Obama runs for president”.

On February 10th 2007 at the Illinois State Capital Senator Obama announced that he will be seeking the Democratic nomination for president. On this auspicious day he said “I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness in this -- a certain audacity -- to this announcement."

On June 3rd in St. Paul Minnesota Senator Barack Obama said to his supporters and the American people “Because of you, tonight I can stand here and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States of America”.

Few things leave me speechless. 

On August 28th 2008 in Denver Colorado, Senator Obama  will address the DNC and accept the Democratic Party nomination. On this day 40 years ago, a young African American, a Baptist Minister stood at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed his dream. “In the face of the difficulties of today and tomorrow I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream”. King went on to say “ I have a dream the my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”.

On the night of June 3rd Obama said “So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that's better, and kinder, and more just. And so it must be for us.”

I was particularly moved by what he had to say about Hillary. “I am a better candidate for having had the honour to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton." Senator Obama's words for John McCain, his Republican  rival were equally magnanimous. “I honour, we honour, the service of John McCain, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine." In an interview with Charlie Rose, Obama referred to George W. Bush, as " a decent man." He also said he was a great admirer of President Clinton's ability to frame issues and thought George H. Bush executed an effective foreign policy.

While he extols magnanimously the virtues of his opponents, Senator Obama can be  amazingly self deprecating. On June 3rd he said “I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations.” He once said of himself “Even if people find me disappointing, ultimately, they might gain something.”

I think Senator Obama is a remarkable, outstanding individual. He embodies what is the best in all of us, black white, Asian, Latino, Catholic, Protestants, Jew, Buddhist, and Moslem. David Brooks said “Obama has a mentality formed by globalization. With his multiethnic family and his globe-spanning childhood, there is a little piece of everything in Obama.Thomas Friedman said. “It seems to me that the strongest case one could make for an Obama presidency right now is rarely articulated: it is his potential to repair the broken relationship between America and the world.”


  1. Alex,you are absolutely right on Obama.He embodies unparalleled humility,always pushing his remarkable "firsts" to the backwaters.He rarely mentions that he was the first ever black President of the Harvard Law Review,or lately,the first ever African-American to get a nomination for US Presidency on a major party.Our Kenyan politicians could sure borrow a useful leaf from jaKOgelo.Politics could be about power, but it is more about service than anything else.I wish Obama the dexterity he'll need to juggle between the mines that the Republicans will no doubt plant on the final road to the Oval Office.

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