In addition to the fact that a number of Black people were beaten up and some killed in the racist reaction to Obama’s victory, recent polls show that hatred of Blacks and Hispanics has gone up since Obama became president in 2009.
Obama The Messiah
As part of the above analysis, it is difficult not to also get a sense of a messianic propensity in Obama’s disposition. This would be almost inevitable given how much the world, including the Nobel Committee, laid the hope of the future of humanity squarely on his shoulders.
The result of this, as one would suspect with all messianic figures throughout history, is the tendency in Obama to believe that he has a higher mission than the ordinary, one that is made of the desires of the gods, or of God, rather than of men. This is a rare and most desirable attribute wherever it exists and one that I cannot in good conscience belabour or criticize because I share this disposition in my worldview and in the conduct of my own life.
The problem is that politics are about men, not gods, and it is men (and women) who vote, canvass for votes and populate the rallies and the voting booths. It is a gamble. When it succeeds, it is a wonderful accomplishment. When it fails, there are issues to come to terms with. At the end of the day, it is Barack Obama’s call.
The Arab Spring
This same messianic propensity, to some extent, and possible some other elements in his ideological or philosophical makeup, and, in large measure, domestic pressure from Republicans at home and pressure from European and NATO allies abroad, may have contributed to Obama and the US sponsoring or co-sponsoring what has come to be known as the Arab Spring. To be sure, it was a noble cause, even if not entirely devoid of some political calculations.
This engagement which has seen civilian uprisings against leaders who had overstayed their usefulness and their welcome in office, spread a new and refreshing hope across North Africa and the Middle East.
It all started from Tunisia where the absolutely reckless manhandling of an unemployed young man seeking to earn a living somehow, and his self-immolation sparked a public outcry and protest that led to the downfall of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
It quickly moved to Egypt resulting in the downfall of America’s all-time ally, Hosni Mubarak and the rise to power of the Moslem Brotherhood.
Then on to Libya where it resulted in a bloody civil war that brought regime change on the back of the sacrifice of so many young Libyans a good number of whom were erstwhile highly trained doctors, engineers, lawyers and scholars with no prior military training who picked up arms to fight for their motherland.
It also saw the brutal death of Moumar Gadhafi. Next stop was Yemen with uncertain result and then Syria where it has resulted in deadly brutal civil war with no end in sight.
The Arab Spring, this experiment in the promotion of democracy across the Arab world through armed civilian uprisings is so froth with uncertainties that it will be years before anyone can make a sound call on its outcome.
But it is easy to see that perhaps more than anything else, in the foreign affairs arena, this foray into the Arab World could prove decisive in defining the legacy of the Presidency of Barack Obama. It is clear that he realises this as he moves with greater trepidation, resisting Republican pressure to expand the role and footprint of the US in the Syrian combat theatre.
The 2012 Campaign
And with all of this, we find ourselves at the verge of another political phenomenon. The pugilistic combat scenario of the 2008 Democratic Party primary campaign would repeat itself four years later in the much discussed first presidential debate between now President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, former Governor Mitt Romney.
Like Hillary Clinton four year earlier, Romney would throw everything at Obama, true, false or in-between, and do so with less than appropriate or acceptable decorum.
Stunned by the indecent assault delivered on him and with the unmitigated disinclination for the respect of veracity, Obama would freeze, and the verdict from both commentators and the public would bring back memories of the event of four years earlier. Mitt Romney’s position in the post-debate public polls would shoot up, restoring life to what was just about becoming a moribund campaign.
And as happened four years earlier, Barack Obama would come out punching in the second and third debates, demonstrating that he too, when forced to, can do pugilistic damage to his opponent, measure for measure. As he was quibbled, people tend to forget that he comes from the streets of Chicago Southside.
Most importantly, in the controversy over the security apparatus that was in or out of place in Benghazi, Libya when a terrorist attack killed the much-beloved American Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three of his colleagues, Secretary of State Clinton would take the fall in defense of her Commander-in-Chief. Obama himself would make it clear, that the buck stopped with him, clear and simple.
Bill Clinton, for his part, would give a rousing speech at the Democratic Party Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, in which he would provide, much more clearly than President Obama, the case for Obama’s re-election.
He would demonstrate just how horrible the American economy was when Obama took over in January 200i9, how hard Obama has had to work to stem the cascading tide of near collapse, and how much the President has repointed the American economy in the right direction.
These things do take time, Bill Clinton would argue, especially given how abysmal the state in which a Republican president had left the American economy and condition. Bill Clinton would also barnstorm for Obama across the entire breadth of the United States, a faithful, loyal and most invaluable supporter, ally and, without doubt, friend.
November 6, 2012
What then come next Tuesday, November 6, 2012, when the American people hold their four-yearly ritual of electing a president? With the benefit of the experience of Barack Obama as an American President, with the knowledge of his toughness of mind, an attribute very much in need in today’s global leadership, and with his intellect which also bestows on him the mental energy, resilience and fortitude that enables him to manage complex issues wherever they might lead and for as long as they demand attention, it goes without saying that Barack Obama should be reelected President by the Americans for another for-year term.
It is not just that by his performance in most difficult times President Obama has earned a second term, which he eminently has, but more that Americans badly need him to continue the rebuilding of the United States that he has started.
Driving home the US rebirth, reconstruction and rehabilitation agenda requires the same mind and attitude that crafted the masterplan in the first place.
All is not completely well with America, and, for the record, all might never be completely well with America, at least not the way Americans have always dreamed of. No nation can have or be assured of continued global dominance forever.
In fact, in an era in which power is virtually obsolete, such struggle for global dominance might not be a true and genuine advantage or attribute for any nation or peoples to pursue.
But if Americans want to continue their national rejuvenation, their national reconstruction, and the prospect of a fair shot at yet another Renaissance, Barack Obama is clearly their man.
However, in being elected president this second time around, Barack Obama owes it now to himself and to his supporters, to take and demonstrate a serious, clear and palpable interest in the specific needs, ambitions and dreams of his core support group, namely Black Americans, Hispanics and other ethnic minorities, and women and young people of all races. He can do this and still do excellently well for all Americans.
After all, borrowing from his own construct, improving the lot of these particular groups will automatically improve the lot of all Americans. Obama has the breadth of energy, capacity and intellect to multitask.
This is the promise of November 6, a couple of days from now. As for the white American male, any analysis of Obama’s first term, in substance or in visual imagery, will show the overwhelming presence of white American males all over the place.
Somehow, many seemed bald headed as well, just like the bald Eagle, America’s national bird. They can now take a small break for respite while others move upstage.
President Barack Obama also needs to seen in the company and midst of a good number of his loyal supporters. There are many amongst them who, like him, are brilliant and extremely competent and well trained. America as a whole could benefit immensely from the fresh and refreshing perspectives of a new crop of leaders.
Obama also needs to act and be seen to act to partner with Africa for the quantum development of the continent and the pursuit of the legitimate, fair and equitable mutual interests of Africa and the United States. He cannot miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity.
With all of this, and with First Lady Michelle Obama by his side, Barack Obama can and will deliver to Americans in the next four years the best prospects of the dream of a new or renewed America in place of the relentless struggle to hang on to the past the glory of which is gone forever.
Dr. Joseph O. Okpaku, Sr., President and Publisher of Third Press Publishers and Chairman of Telecom Africa International Corporation, is a renowned scholar and expert of strategic development and global issues. He is regarded as a Renaissance man and a leading 21st Century philosopher.