The AnswersThatWork Blog

Saturday, 8th November 2008

Barack Obama — President-elect of the United States 4-Nov-2008

Rosa Parks sat down so that Martin Luther King could walk so that Jesse Jackson could stand so that Barack Obama could run so that all our children can fly.

So goes a text message in Accra, the capital of Ghana in Africa (the last two words of his sentence, “in Africa”, are for the benefit of Sarah Palin who for a while thought Africa was a country rather than a continent).

America was swept away on Tuesday 4-Nov-2008 by a hurricane the size of which the world had never seen, Katrina II.

It really did not matter what resistance, what defences, what attacks McCain and Palin put up, they were always going to be swept away by the indomitable force of this planet-size hurricane, Category 10 Katrina II, aka Barack Obama, the first Black President of the United States of America.

And Katrina is where I want to start my compliments to Barack Obama today for his not only historic, but also comprehensive, election victory on Tuesday 4th November 2008.

The historians, the journalists, the academics, and all the pundits have argued and are still debating that the economy is what handed the election to Obama.  I disagree.  No, strike that, I completely disagree.  Obama would have won this election in different circumstances too — he is that good.  Remember, this is the same Barack Obama who beat, trounced, Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination when the economy was not the critical factor that it became when Lehman Brothers disintegrated — the theme then was Healthcare which was supposed to be Hillary Clinton’s specialty.  This is the same Barack Obama who, in his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, gave a speech of such quality, passion, and clarity that experts from all corners of the US called it one of the best speeches of all times by any US politician.  Attributing the current economic circumstances to Obama’s success this week is devaluing his extraordinary multi-faceted talents — he would have won on any theme.

Thanks to a personal background very similar in its variety to Barack Obama, I am absolutely certain that the fundamentals of Barack Obama’s win are, very simply, inclusion.  As Barack Obama repeated continually in every single one of the hundreds of speeches he made around the country, total inclusion was the theme throughout, and was repeated again in his acceptance speech :  Whites, Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Young, Old, Straight, Gays, Men, Women, Disabled, Not Disabled, and I’ve probably missed a few more.

If you genuinely treat all human beings the same, if you have Total Inclusion, you then have a fundamental immovable base that will enable you to survive all attacks, to surmount all obstacles, and to win most hearts, if not all.

We temporarily had a period of internal strife last year at AnswersThatWork which threatened to destruct.  We survived it, and are now reborn thanks simply to the immovable base of our policy of total inclusion and no prejudices of any kind allowed.

Total inclusion is what gave Barack Obama the most important ingredient for him to win.  Nelson Mandela did the same years ago, so did Martin Luther King, and so did Mahatma Gandhi decades ago when he preached that Muslims had equal value to Hindus and that no-one was better than anyone else.

Katrina and its destruction of New Orleans and the south coast showed the divisive nature of the Bush regime.  At this point it is important to correct some misconceptions :  George W Bush is not racist, he empowered Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice and pushed for various aid packages to Africa more than any previous US president.  George W Bush has a good heart, but he was and is unfortunately also a puppet, a puppet for Republican powers and lobbyists whose agenda was an incredibly divisive one :  more and more to the rich, less and less for the poor, war over diplomacy, help and more help for Republican states and cities, and obstruction and more obstruction for Democrat cities — New Orleans.  Even as this article is being written the Republicans are trying to rush through (before Obama takes over) more deregulation of the financial markets when every other country in the world is calling for unison in implementing more stringent regulation, and they are trying to remove the restrictions on oil drilling in the protected wilderness areas of the United States.  This shows the shocking divisiveness and “more-and-more-for-the-rich” philosophy of the current Republican party.

John McCain, who used to oppose the Republican Party’s current policies of divisiveness and non-inclusion, unfortunately turned to those same policies when he found himself behind in the polls.  And this is what killed his bid.  America, like most western countries nowadays, is today a melting pot of the old generation and an increasing majority new generation of people :  those pictures in Grant Park, Chicago, proved it beyond doubt — today’s Americans are called Fernandez, Garcia, Katayama, Chang, Wong, Kowalski, Patel, Khan, Abdullah, and Obama, as much as they are still called McCain, Bush, Clinton, and Kennedy.  America is changing :  it started with Native Americans, but then became a nation of settlers, from Europe originally;  it continues to be a nation of settlers, but from all over the world nowadays.  Add to this the global economy (Made in Japan, Made in China) and, most importantly, the power of the Internet :  a person in Florida emails someone in Europe and says “I saw your website on Google and thought you’d be interested in something I have and maybe we could do something together” and suddenly a major venture is born.  The company’s employees in Europe get more interested in everything American and Floridian in particular, and the guys and gals in Florida get more interested in what Europe is, what Europeans read and then, one day, they decide to check out what the foreign press says about America and, low and behold, they suddenly realise that the rest of the world despises the Bush regime and its attitude to the rest of the world.  So these Floridians change — no-one likes the idea that 90% of the world hates you, so you start thinking beyond the usual rhetoric from your own party — you read, and the Internet is a great place to research.  This is today’s world.

For all these reasons Barack Obama’s policy of Total Inclusion was always going to prove the most important base for his win as it in turn provided the most important ingredient for any successful presidential campaign :  Money !

Remember :  Blacks, or African-Americans, form only 13% of the population of the United States, so they alone could never have provided the unbelievable amounts of Internet contributions that Barack Obama’s campaign was able to garner — the remarkable funding machine of Barack Obama’s campaign could never have amassed the hundreds of millions of dollars that it did through relying principally only on the Black vote.  Barack Obama’s absolute belief in Total Inclusion enabled him to appeal to all Americans :  Whites, Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Young, Old, Straight, Gays, Men, Women, Disabled, Not Disabled, all contributed again, and again, and again to his campaign because they knew he wasn’t just focused on Black people, he wasn’t just focused on righting a century of racial issues, he was simply focused on treating every man, woman, and child as his brother, sister, or nephew.  And this Total Inclusion was the bedrock of his ability to generate funds like no other presidential campaign before — so many people, from so many states, were touched by his Total Inclusion :  in this campaign a judge ruled that a park bench could be used as a home address for the purpose of voting so that a homeless person who was determined to vote, could vote, and a voting official in Florida slept overnight in a voting facility determined to guard the ballots with his life (remember how the Republicans stole Florida, and as a result the White House, in 2000?).  Obama’s Total Inclusion touched everyone's heart.  And, to close on this particular part of my Total Inclusion argument, the UK newspaper The Guardian published this morning statistics on Barack Obama’s funding.  One statistic which caught my eye is this one :  "Goldman Sachs was linked to more donations than any other company as its employees and their families provided $847,207 to the successful Democratic candidate’s fundraising machine (employees of the same firm contributed only $228,695 to John McCain’s campaign, a ratio of 4 to 1 against!)".  So, that list again :  Whites, Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Young, Old, Straight, Gays, Men, Women, Disabled, Not Disabled, Rich and not so Rich, ......

Let’s have a look at the other facets of Obama’s win :

The Economy
Jobs for the American middle class, releasing the credit lines for small businesses, major review of unemployment benefits to address the inevitable fact that 10 million Americans are unemployed today, while at the same time not forgetting that big corporations and big industries make the world go around — Total Inclusion.

Healthcare for everyone is, effectively, the theme, whether you are employed or unemployed, rich or poor.  Europe does it, so why can’t America do it, is the theme. Total Inclusion.

Foreign Policy
Diplomacy and Mediation first.  Diplomacy and Mediation second.  Diplomacy and Mediation third.  War as the very, very, very last possibility.  Total inclusion.

Our Planet’s Future (global warming)
Obama believes in cooperating with the rest of the World for climate control, global warming, and other planet threatening issues.  Total inclusion.

Campaign Management
This included everything in maximized form :  offices, volunteers and campaign employees on the ground, everywhere, helping disempowered people to get to the voting stations, radio advertisements, TV advertisements, Internet advertising, YouTube, iPod alerts, Text messaging alerts, Email alerts.  Total inclusion of all technologies.

Barack Obama is a genius of total inclusion and he is a master at managing the incredible complexities of Total Inclusion, and he is so good at it that eventually it lessened the issue of his colour, of his race, despite all the negative and racially charged campaigning of John McCain’s campaign (his gracious conceding speech notwithstanding).

Attributing his victory to the economic meltdown is completely devaluing Obama’s success and effectively saying that he got lucky beyond luck and would not have won otherwise.  Barack Obama’s absolute policies of Total Inclusion and his genius and masterfulness at managing the complexity of addressing “everything and everyone” is what won him the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton, and it is what won him the White House.  He would have won any campaign in 2008.

I’ll end with my Highest and Lowest points of this historic week.

Highest Point
The crowd at Grant Park, Chicago.  It was absolutely beautiful.  That crowd was an exact mirror of Barack Obama’s campaign, most of them crying with joy :  Whites, Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Young, Old, Straight, Gays, Men, Women, Disabled, Not Disabled, Rich and not so Rich, .....

Another High Point
CNN’s coverage of the Election was superb :  the balance in the studio was good, the guests were great, the coverage was sensitive, and everyone was taken in by the emotion of this Historical Moment when it happened.

And Truly Emotional Moments
●  Condoleezza Rice (Republican) beaming with pride.
●  The emotion of THIS schoolboy from the Ron Clark Academy of Atlanta.
● Jesse Jackson, who "stood for the Democratic nomination" years ago so that Barack Obama could "run for the Presidency" this year.
●  And, of course, the scenes of joy at  the Ebenezer Baptist Church,  the church where Martin Luther King used to preach.

The Lowest Point
The coverage by the BBC in the UK.  This was absolutely appalling.  If Hillary Clinton had been on the verge of making history by becoming the first woman president of the United States, it is a nigh on certainty that the BBC news studio would have had a mixture of men and women.  What did the BBC and David Dimbleby do ?  On the eve of a probable historic moment (Barack Obama was well ahead in every poll prior to election day), on the eve of one of those moments that stay permanently in the history of the human race, the BBC of the UK, where, as in the US, every major city is a melting pot of races, did not have a single Black person amongst the studio pundits.  Shocking.

I leave you with the viewed-12-million-times  Obama Girl  YouTube Video as a celebration of the Youth Vote which Barack Obama so successfully energized.

As a mark of respect for this historic day, week, month, there will not be another blog entry for November.

Yes we can !

—— (TUT) SpaceMan

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