Barack Obama: The ugly American?

November 4, 2008. Perhaps a day we will one day be describing to our grandchildren as the most historic turning point of the century, if not of the modern world.

Today the voters in USA (out of the only 20% ‘black’ and more than 50% ‘white’) will make the first Black President in the entire history of the country.

Barack Obama is not just black. He is the most un-American American we knew. Americans in our perception were white. (Well, there were blacks, but they were only driving taxis and mostly working as detectives – not running the country) Americans in our perception did not have Kenyan grandmothers or Indonesian step fathers, let alone Muslim middle names. Obama changed that all.

I think the even more significant factor than his color is his exposure to the developing world. Come on which American President ever went to school in a developing Asian nation?

The demarcation was so obvious. McCain stood for everything ‘white’ – pro-war, pro-Christian, pro-rich, anti-abortion, anti-gay rights. These were the very causes that would have made him President without contest three or four decades ago.

Sorry McCain old boy, America has changed. It has changed for good.

When the majority of voters select Barack Obama today to lead the most powerful nation in the world, they would do so not because of his color, his ethnicity or his religion. They would elect him because he is the one who represents their dreams. He is the one who can make a change. May not be economically – but more importantly in our perceptions. Obama might not change USA. But he will paint the world differently.

I congratulate the first world’s President of the United States.

(PS. ‘The Ugly American’ is a metaphor popularized by the 1958 political novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer, of the same name. Ironically, the “ugly American” of the book title actually refers to one of the heroes, a plain-looking engineer named Homer Atkins, who lives with the local people, comes to understand their needs, and gives genuinely useful assistance with small-scale projects such as the development of a simple bicycle-powered water pump. Is there anything better to describe Obama?)


3 thoughts on “Barack Obama: The ugly American?

  1. In our country, the majority is motivated by the personal beliefs of the presidential candidate (sinhala buddhist in this case). Is that bad or good?

    kind of upsetting how you say Americans once voted “pro-christian”, and say that people have changed now, and that they have changed for the better. I agree that voting for a president because he is of your same faith is an ugly thing- that doesn’t mean the faith is wrong.

    Worse, how you say people once voted “anti-abortion” and say changed for the better. This is a change, worse or better is subjective. To say a point of view is correct, and the only correct point of view, is not democracy.

    Btw, I am a supporter of Obama too- not a supporter but happy he is winning.

  2. You have a good point, that Americans, could be mature enough as a a society to be voting against their personal beliefs. The Sri lankan equivalent of that would mean a sinhala buddhist majority voting for, say, a tamil president. Just like we as a society haven’t come to that state of maturity, it’s unlikely that america has either. it is not because Obama is different from the majority’s thinking, Obama thinking is the majority now. The thinking in America has changed, and the American public has once more voted in the stereo type it wants. This might be a huge thing for Asian countries, because he is less red neck- so to say- than the other candidates, but he will deliver another flavour of Americanism to the world. Is that better? It surely is the Americaness i would prefer too. My point is the american public wren’t maturely taking a daring step and voting against their preferences, but they have changed, and were voting for their personal preference. BTW, once again- i have nothing agianst Obama ok:) tc. Nice to see a politician allow comments for one:)

  3. Its funny how UNP who is sitting with Republican party in the International Democrat Union ( supports Obama. You are just trying to be oppertunistic. Curse on you!

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