Why Americans Should Vote For Obama

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[Election 2008: The View From London]


I have been watching this Presidential race with a lot of enthusiasm.

First there were the in-house squabbles for party nominations; and now the main one – the race for the White house. One thing that has constantly stood out is that during both sessions, Senator Barack Obama brought out something that has been missing in US politics for quite sometime. Class and decency!

Despite all the negative campaigns by his opponents who dedicated quite a big chunk of their efforts attacking him, Senator Obama always remained calm and focused on the job – setting out clearly his vision for a better America and by implication a better world for us all and our children.

There is no pretending Obama will find it easy to restore America’s place in the world. The Republicans have betrayed the American people. I remember after the 9/11 tragedy some Americans in London were heard wondering: "Who would hate our country so much as to do this to us?"

Barack Obama is a highly intellectual and immensely disciplined individual. He is the type of person you need at the helm in a time of crisis like the one unfolding--the economic downturn and threat to world security. Obama’s humility will enable him to reach out for top skilled advisors, and build cross-party consensus in the house.

On the economy, Senator McCain’s claim that he is a maverick is all hat and no trousers. Maverick? This is the man who interrupted his campaign to go and support his boss George Bush for the last time to dish American taxpayers’ money to Wall Street. Why was there a crisis in the first place? Because of his support for Bush to gut controls and regulations over Wall Street. The country is now in deep trouble. The rich are still getting richer and the hard working middle class are finding it harder day by day. Obama’s policy of protecting the working class has nothing to do with neither socialism nor redistribution of wealth – just fair play for all.

On the environment, while Obama advocates innovation into renewable sources of energy, Senator John McCain would drill until the earth sinks. Over the last few months McCain has been going on advocating a "drill baby drill" policy, when gas prices were sky high. With the falling gas prices, Americans are now back to "fill baby fill".

Following the shameful position taken by the USA in the Kyoto agreement on climate change, Obama’s position seems more amendable to international cooperation on protecting the environment. he UK is currently pushing the cut in CO emission of between 60-80% by 2050, and Obama as already suggested his administration would adopt a similar target.

On foreign policy - you would wonder why as a British person I should care passionately about American politics. Make no mistake, when America sneezes, the whole world catches the cold. It is because of America’s standing in the world which requires an appropriate foreign policy; The USA is an economic powerhouse and a military might. With such power comes responsibility which certainly appeared to be lacking during the last eight years. America needs to re-occupy quickly its place – a beacon of hope and a land of opportunity for all. The USA needs friends abroad – a proper coalition of the willing and not the bullied or the bought. And yes, that includes talking with Iran, Cuba and North Korea, if only to build a safer world. Recall that former South African President, Nelson Mandela had been on a "terrorist list" for most of his life. That was an embarrassing mistake. So talk is good and cheap too!

I have intentionally withheld myself from mentioning Ms. Sarah Palin, selected by McCain’s as his vice presidential candidate. Some things are taken seriously. Others are not. I am not sure what McCain was thinking when he picked her as a running mate – there surely are more experienced and qualified Americans.

Barack is someone who is not afraid to say what he thinks. He is not the sort of politician who would tell you what you want to hear. He has attacked absent fathers, a taboo conversation among many African Americans, with the same ferocity that he’s attacked the reckless dealings on Wall Street. He communicates with you straight from the heart and he means it. He comes across more like a CEO than a politician and for this, I think, Americans should be thankful.

At times like this, there is no time for racism. Blacks and whites all stand to benefit from Obama’s presidency. Do the right thing. Be part of the making of history. Your grandchildren will look back and feel proud.

Barack the Vote!

Allimadi writes for The Black Star News from London

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