Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dawn of a New Era

PerryScope by Perry Diaz

At 11:00 PM Eastern Time on November 4, 2008, Barack Obama made history when he was elected President of the United States, a feat that no African-American has achieved before. After enduring a negative campaign by his opponent, Obama convinced the American people that he is the man whom they can trust in changing the way the government works. With a vision of hope, Obama's victory ushers in a new era.

Obama's election amidst some of the sleaziest campaign tactics against him proved once again that the American people will not fall prey to negativism. But it was Obama's positive outlook and determination to stay on course that finally convinced the electorate that he could bring real change to America.

In his victory speech in Chicago attended by 125,000 enthusiastic supporters, Obama gave a stirring call to all Americans to come together and help him bring change to the nation. He set the tone of his administration when he prefaced his speech by saying, "The greatest of a lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century."

He told them, "This is our moment, this is our time" and declared: "Change has come to America." But he reminded the people that he alone cannot make that change. "So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder," he said. The response was spontaneous and brought many to tears of joy. In the crowd was the fiery Rev. Jesse Jackson -- who once ran for President -- with tears falling from his eyes.

The diversity of the crowd was a testament to the wide support for Obama's message, "Yes, we can," which the crowd chanted as Obama outlined the tasks that lie ahead: ending the Iraq War, fix the economy, health care, education…

It is not going to be easy. It would take a man of great courage to achieve the change he wanted. But he is not a man lacking in courage. His courage to seek the presidency without a precedence was like charting the unknown seas. He didn't have the stars to go by, only the instinct and determination of a person whose only fear is fear itself.

Looking back at the 21 months of his steep climb to the pinnacle of political power in America, Obama's success may have been attributed to "Mandela Effect," to wit: "When you can create enduring success not because you are perfect or lucky but because you have the courage to do what matters to you." Indeed, he proclaimed oftentimes during his campaign that he was not perfect. And lucky? Well, as someone once said, "The harder you work, the luckier you get." And worked harder he did to achieve what he courageously sought: the presidency of the United States of America.

Obama had broken the racial barrier to the presidency. The trail that he blazed to the White House will be studied and charted by political scientists for others to use. Henceforth, it would be easier for people of color to pursue the highest position in the land. And no longer do they have to fear the "Bradley Effect." In 1982, Tom Bradley, an African-American, lost the California gubernatorial contest although he was ahead in the polls prior to the election. The theory suggests that white voters would tell pollsters that they are undecided or would vote for a black candidate; however, on election day they would vote for the white candidate.

Because of the "Bradley Effect," political pollsters and pundits would not dare predict the victory of Obama prior to the November 4 elections. It has never happened in a presidential election before; thus, making "Bradley Effect" a huge variable in the polls. Some say that for Obama to win, he had to have at least a 10-percent lead over McCain in the polls. In most polls, Obama led by 5 to 6 percent -- not enough to offset the "Bradley Effect." The initial results of the popular vote were 52% for Obama to 47% for McCain with 84% of all precincts reported. Most of the polls were pretty close to these figures. In other words, "Bradley Effect" did not materialize in the 2008 elections.

The first task of Obama is to start the unification of the American people who were polarized by the negative campaign tactics. McCain, in his concession speech in Phoenix, Arizona, congratulated and complimented Obama. He urged his followers to "come together and bridge the separations and put aside differences." And he promised that he "will get behind his president, President Obama."

Thus started the healing process. If the two erstwhile rivals could work together -- McCain is still a senator -- it would certainly bode well for the Obama administration. And as Obama promised, he will reach across the aisle in the spirit of bipartisanship.

As the Bush presidency comes to an end, let's give President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph Biden best wishes as they usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. God bless both of them. God bless America.