Economics and Society 101: Significance of the Obama win


By ARTHUR BOQUIREN

The American people rejoice in the victory of Barack Obama, its new president-elect. This column joins the American people in the celebration of that victory even as it is skeptical whether Obama’s win will really bring about long-lasting positive regime change in the world’s most powerful nation.

True, the victory of Barack Obama has genuine significance.

Firstly, Obama is the first black American to win the U.S. presidency. This is a 180-degrees-about-face of America. Blacks were the Whiteman’s slaves. The whites discriminated against the indigenous peoples of America: the American Indians. In fact, the whites decimated the Indians, populated America, procured slaves, and secured immigrants as immigrants are discriminated against.

Thus, the victory of Obama implies this important lesson: minorities need not always be minorities. The discriminated need not always be discriminated and racial discrimination can end. Similarly, indigenous peoples who have less voice in society can become the majority. They need not be discriminated forever.

Secondly, Obama is also the first American with a Muslim background to win the U.S. presidency. If discrimination based on races can end, so can the discrimination based on religion can end. If the social divide based on races can come nearer to an end, this also implies that the social divide produced by faith can also come nearer to its end.

Thus, the victory of Obama has important significance not only for the people of the United States but also for the people of the world. His win implies oppression and discrimination are not eternal. Through struggle, both discrimination and oppression can end.

Needless, to say the Obama win is a product of struggle of peoples all over the world. People who stood up against slavery, people who fought against discrimination and racism, and people who stood for equality regardless of faith, race, and creed.

This is not to say, however, that the victory of the American people has been completed.

There are signs that the discrimination against Muslims will continue inspite of the Obama win.

One of those signs is that Obama has declared the war in Iraq will have a responsible ending. This is like “responsible mining,” something akin to a “responsible rape.” Degradation of the environment continues with “responsible mining” and so a “responsible” ending to war can mean that the war on Iraq can continue under a different name. For instance, in Vietnam, the war against the Vietnamese people continued once under the name of “civic action.”

Another sign is that Obama has declared that he will move to increase the size of the U.S. armed forces under his term by around 65,000 more troops. A responsible “ending” to war accompanied by an increase of troops? Baloney.

Further, on Iran, Obama says the use of force has not been ruled out. This is similar to the imposition of bullies: be good to me so that I will be good to you.

In short, although the victory of Obama is not only a victory of the American people but also of all peoples of the world, the fight for a better world has not yet ended with the electoral victory of Obama.

Obama’s victory can also mean that U.S. annexations and dominance of the world will assume a new face. One side can be benign but the other side can be as violent as before. Nevertheless, the Peace Combatant expresses his greetings to the victory of the American people and of people of the world.

(The author maintains a website at http://www.geocities.com/arturoboquiren and can be contacted through artboquiren2040@ yahoo.com and 0927-536-8431)

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