Yes, Barack Obama won the election. No, he has not elected as the president yet; and people are criticizing him already for not making any actions regarding the conflict in Gaza. Thus let’s momentary ignore Israel-Palestine war issue when we talk about Obama as today he is officially inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States. As a matter of fact, the Israel-Palestine war has eclipsed what actually we can learn from his triumph and what it really means to all the people in the world.
Today, as we say goodbye to the out-of-favor president George W. Bush, Americans and the world welcome an unlikely new president who is supposed to be the one to fix the battered image of the country abroad and change United States to a nation that the world can depend once more.
Obama’s win is an unlikely case; simply because he is black. As it happens in most of the countries in the world, the minority usually hasn’t got the same opportunity as the majority has. Now we can see that the world’s most powerful nation is led by a black man, and that’s really something.
Change we can believe in, says Barack Obama, the man who successfully convinces Americans to believe that he, regardless the color of his skin, can make change for country’s future image to the world. The man who teaches us that being minority doesn’t mean you can’t fulfill your dream; even his once impossible reverie to be a black president in his country can come into reality. And this is the man who, most importantly, unites the Americans and razes racial barriers which have overwhelmed the people for years.
“No he will not make it because, you know, he is a black. And racial discrimination in that country is way bigger than you think”, said my Indonesian colleague friend from United States when he came back to Jakarta a year ago. Obama was still trailing behind Hillary Clinton in the race for Democrat’s presidential nominee back then, and skepticism still arose whether Americans were ready yet to have an African-American to be their president.
But the United States people have proved themselves that they can brush skin color judgment aside and unite for the country’s purpose. Obama’s win as the first black president of the United States shows that now each citizen in that country, black or white, minority or majority, can share the same opportunity and freedom; the mere delusion that was dreamed by Martin Luther King 45 years ago.
And bear in mind that it happens in United States –where there was time when black students were not allowed to be in the same class with white students, when black people are obliged to sit at the back of the bus, and when a black politician is condemned for having dinner in the White House.
Today, many countries are still struggling to surmount their own underlying racial and ethnic problems. And the one who suffers is always the minority, who has yet to experience commonly unfair treatments and conducts and can not share the equal opportunity as the majority has.
As an Indonesian, it is true that I am not considered as minority. Yet speaking about being part of the minority, I am an obedient Muslim who spent 6 years in Catholic school that is dominated by the Chinese, the race that hold only less than 4 percent of Indonesia’s total population and for long has been struggling to find their way out of frequent unfair treatments from the bureaucracy or other Indonesians. Trust me, I do know what it feels like to be a minority.
Think the way Americans were thinking when they cast their vote in the election. It’s not Obama’s race that matters; it’s his ability to bring the country back on the right pathway. As the new president-elect officially stepped in to the oval office this January, the Americans have shown us that the earth we are currently living is no longer a place where people are judged by the color of their skin, or other differences that matter.
If American people can do it, then why can’t we? Oh obviously, yes we can.