Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The Unthinkable Happened: America Elects a Black President

We ask:

Will Malaysians ever see in their life time a Chinese/Indian/Iban/ Dayak Malaysian Prime Minister or even a Deputy Prime Minister?

Unlikely, as long as we choose to continue to elect UMNO to win government.
- Malaysian Unplug

Read here article by Matthew Bigg in Reuters and HERE

President-Elect Obama, wife Michelle and their daughters

President-Elect Obama's Malaysian Connection

Barack Obama's half-sister, Maya-Soetoro is married to Konrad Ng whose family comes from Kudat and Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia.

Konrad Ng, Maya-Soetoro Ng, and parents of Konrad Ng


CLICK HERE earlier posting and photos on young Barack Obama

FLASHBACK: 28 August 1963:
"I HAVE A DREAM" - Dr. Martin Luther King

Excerpts: Read here for more

For Americans burdened by a sense of history, something once unthinkable has happened.

The United States has elected a BLACK president.

Barack Obama, the cool and collected Hawaiian-born son of a man from Kenya and woman from Kansas, whose promise of "change" inspired a generation of young people, shattered the last racial ceiling in U.S. politics Tuesday to become the first African-American elected president.

What has changed in terms of race to enable Democratic candidate Barack Obama's defeat of Republican John McCain and what might change as a result?

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said,

"His (Obama) winning means America's getting better.

We are more mature.

We are less anxious around each other."

One surprise apparent in the earliest primaries in which parties chose their nominees was the support Obama attracted among whites voters.

At the same time, black voters were integral to Obama's success, swinging a number of states in his favor. And Obama went out of his way to embrace black voters and their concerns, most notably in a high-profile speech on race in March.

Conservative leader and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives,Newt Gingrich said

"It begins to be accepted that young men and women of color who can certainly dream the biggest dreams .... America has moved beyond any narrowly defined sense of racism."

Black Americans make up around 13 percent of the population but earn less money and are less healthy than the general population.

Exit polls showed that large numbers of young voters turned out to vote for Obama as president. African-Americans, Hispanics and younger people, many turning out for the first time, showed up in droves Tuesday to support Obama.

That support is partly a product of school integration, which began in the 1960s, though recent studies show that the process of integration is being reversed.

Americans will watch Obama's daughters, who are 10 and 7, grow up in the White House.

That could give young people of color a renewed sense of the opportunities open to them.

Obama's breakthrough was symbolic and transitional. Obama, 47, becomes the fourth-youngest elected president and the first too young to have served in the Vietnam War.

For Obama, Tuesday's victory culminates a meteoric rise unprecedented in American politics. The former community organizer, civil-rights attorney and constitutional-law teacher was a virtually unknown state legislator when his keynote speech stole the show at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

He won election to the Senate that same year. In this year's primary race, the anti-war Obama built a broad-based coalition to upset presumed front-runner Hillary Clinton, a senator from New York and the wife of former President Bill Clinton.

Generally viewed as an outsider, Obama's mantra of "change" resonated deeply. His controversial decision to back off a pledge to pursue public campaign financing allowed him to build a war chest the likes of which have never been seen. Obama's pick of Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, a foreign-policy veteran, as his running mate helped assuage concerns about a lack of experience in international affairs.

Mostly, though, Obama successfully surfed a public mood marked by frustration with Bush and the Iraq war and anxiety over the economy.

Obama effectively chained McCain to the unpopular 43rd president, and even the Arizonan's maverick reputation wasn't enough to overcome a toxic GOP brand.


If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
-President-Elect Barack Obama
44th President of the United States

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

America makes history because she needs a change. Malaysia make history for having a prospective PM linked to a murder with many questions unanswered. I love Malaysia. I simply love Malaysia for what this Nation is and represents.