Akrita Reyar There is a ring in the air. It is reverberating from the East Coast to the West Shores. Sweeping from the Chilly North to the Sunny South. A mystical incantation has got America enchanted. There is “hope” in the hearts of the people. The sole superpower of the world, is pining for “change”! Barack Obama, the Democrat “hopeful” for the White House has made “hope” and “change” the slogans for his high pitched, energetic and certainly green bucks greased campaign.
This 46-year old, 6-footer, Black man and Senator from Illinois is different. He has chosen to bear the torch, to show the light to his country. His call has ignited the imagination of an entire people. His summon is unrelenting, his beckon most luring.
Obama promises to stir the citizens of America from the comfort of his smugness. Acknowledge that the US has taken a wrong path. And shall have it no more.
It is time for Hope & Change. His message is simple. This is after all the United States of America. And people here don’t believe in magniloquent speeches, unlike their former masters across the Atlantic.
Every time he addresses a gathering, it’s like a rock star has descended. The mood is electric. Everyone is here to be a part of the new order.
What exactly will be the great change is difficult to pin down. Nobody in the crowd is bothering to ask. They are all just too glad to be there. Like a night out at a party at the end of the cumbersome weekend.
Also, after months of electioneering, these effortless expressions have now become so monotonous, they are beginning to sound like a sonorous lullaby. That dulls your thinking, so the actuality gets lost somewhere in the surge of emotion. Like a hymn in a canorous choir, that only makes you sway. Not think or believe. Like an importunate army band drill, evoking awe and pride, but has no rationale.
The message sure is simple. The meaning must be esoteric one presumes.
Let us explore. Hope for the United States
Because Obama roars, “Together we will make history”. For the first time ever a Black Man will become the President of America. President of a country that had a history of enslavement, repression and torture of the dark skinned. Obama, at least, shall create history.
But then the same holds true for Democrat opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton. For the first time ever a Woman will become the President of America. President of a country that gave women a right to vote only as late as 1920. So, Hillary too will create history!
Now, not much is changing here. Is it?
Change, also certainly not from the way past presidential candidates have battled each other on the campaign trail.
In a series of live television debates there was such caterwauling that the two looked literally at each other’s throats. It wasn’t even elegant watching.
Perhaps embarrassed at the loutish display of their raw lust for power, they decided to significantly bring down the mercury. So in the last debate before Super Tuesday, the duo looked amusingly “put on” friendly. And posed for that ‘such a lovey-dovey couple’ photo-op post debate. Now how did you like that for a change?
The common man on the street, irrespective of who rules Washington, is having to shell out more to bring health care and social security within reach. He is more vulnerable to homegrown crime, while living in the fear that his country’s frontiers are no longer impregnable. The US economy is sliding towards recession and consecutive rate cuts by the Fed Reserve to infuse life into the country’s financial system have only had sluggish effect. Meanwhile, the President has gained the notoriety of spending an amount on his ineffectual war in Iraq that could have built America’s infrastructure all over. And who will pick up this multi billion dollar tab? The taxpayer.
In this scenario, Obama’s mantra has become such a rage that he is receiving a million dollars a day in donation. As the contest gets more scorching, Obama is relying on this bulging war chest, while Hillary is having to dip into her personal funds. Money, at the end, could decide who crosses the finishing line first in this battle of nerves.
The website of the Senator from Illinois reads “The Obama Opportunity”.
Err, the opportunity for him or the country he pledges to lead? What a boorish thought! Hope for the world
For a country, that is considered the most prosperous, enlightened and liberated, less than 30% citizens hold a passport. Even fewer travel abroad. And when they do, it is mostly for business. Holidaying or exploring the world is low on the agenda. After all, America means the world to them. And the World means America!
So certainly not much hope in store for the millions suffering in Iraq. For little will change even if a Democrat President were to pull out troops from the Arab country, which has borne the brunt of brazen policy decisions of Bush father-son duo, who made the fight with Saddam Hussein look like a Bedouin war of honour.
Or even for North Korea, where protracted sanctions has stifled the lives of another few millions. Or Cuba or Sudan or Libya or Venezuela. No policy alteration will change Iran’s brinkmanship. The list of the countries that have been at the receiving end of the stick of the Global Policeman goes on.
Neither will the cockles of the heart of Russians grow any warmer towards their Cold War foe, who have been told in so many words to “mind their own business”. Nor will the US be able to contain the growing brawn of China. The dragon spit fire over a US spy plane incident at its Hainan Island`s airbase, with Bush finally issuing an “expression of regret”. This is change we wouldn’t mind either.
Now, let me pop the big question. Will Obama get Osama?
Highly unlikely. The US has bombed Afghanistan flat, smashed the primeval natural formations of Tora Bora, made new enemies in the tribal belt of Pakistan and put their best intelligence guys on the chase. Yet, the enigmatic brigand is no where in sight.
While the US is shuffling for answers to look a little less silly, their most important ally in the War on Terror, Pakistan President Musharraf is unabashed. On his most recent trip to Europe, the General felt no shame in admitting that the hunt for Osama was not a priority.
Uncle Sam couldn’t agree more. You see, it is more important to eliminate the al Qaeda network and all that Osama stands for. So that the world can stand for all that America stands for.
Between us, it won’t come as a surprise if Osama is hiding in Musharraf’s own backyard in Rawalpindi. After all, there could no safer haven.
So little hope here.
Sadly enough, a transfer of power in Washington will also not bring change to America’s status of being one of the most hated countries in the world. Nor will it make over its reputation of being one of the most unfriendly countries to visitors. Hope for Obama
Show me the hope! I exclaim finally. Exasparated by now, at my futile hunt for the elusive elixir. Pat comes the reply: It is in the heart of one man. Barack H Obama. For the kingdom of Washington is at hand. It will change the story of a man, who was born in Hawaii to a White Christian woman and a Black Muslim man from Kenya. Who was raised partially in Indonesia before coming back to the US for an education at Harvard. Whose practice as a civil rights lawyer led him to the Illinois State Senate and then the US Senate. When a correspondent asked his wife Michelle, who is herself a Princeton and Harvard graduate, about how she felt about putting on hold her job as a hospital executive at University of Chicago. The self sacrificing lady said her mission was to be a good mother to their two young daughters first. Read between the lines and what she probally meant was she was willing to give up just about anything to be the First Lady of the most powerful nation on earth. In great nations, each man counts. It doesn’t matter if there is hope no where, but in the heart of only one man in the country. For America is a great nation. Behold America! For Change is at the doortsep of one man.