By ARNOLD A. AUGUSTE, Publisher/Senior Editor
Over the last four years, we watched in sadness and dismay as Barack Obama, America’s first Black President, was pilloried, insulted, demeaned and his birthplace and legitimacy to serve in the country’s highest office questioned.
Just recently, some idiot even dared to question his educational qualifications, he who was the editor of the Harvard Law Review – as if just any old body could do such.
It didn’t take us long to forget the euphoria that greeted his election victory four years ago; to wonder if America decided it made a mistake.
And it was painful. Moreso, as we approached this last election.
We listened to his challenger. We heard his pronouncements and then we heard his other pronouncements which conflicted with the first. Or the third, which conflicted with the first and second. It was dizzying! We had a hard time keeping track of the moving ground of his policies.
We saw a straw man with no core, no solid beliefs. Yet, what we heard from those who we figured knew better than us was leading us to disbelieve our eyes and ears and to consider this man as a serious contender.
Then election night came and the countdown began. It was supposed to take all night, maybe even days or weeks to know the results.
Then we knew. And the country erupted. And people around the world danced in the streets.
This was no ordinary victory. It showed us that those who demeaned this good man, this honourable, decent, family-loving man, were wrong.
It is always so much harder for us, isn’t it? But the victory is always so much sweeter.
We, too, were wrong, those of us who doubted the American people, those who, as we did, watched in horror at the treatment of their president and knew that the day will come when they would do something about it.
And so they did and in no uncertain way.
He not only won the Electoral College comfortably but he also won the popular vote. Now, he is a two-term president and no one can ever take that back.
Remember the statement from Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, that the top job for the Republicans was to make him a one-term president? Not the economy. Not the unemployment rate. Not the housing crisis.
I guess they lost, eh?
Remember the Tea Party movement that wanted to take back their country?
Well, the Obama coalition that brought a diverse number of groups of Americans together showed whose country it really is. And they took back their country from these crazy people. And the presidency.
It is estimated that some $6-billion was spent on this election, a lot of it, an estimated $1-billion by rich folks who just couldn’t stand to see this man and his beautiful African-American family living in the White House.
There was this one guy, Thomas Peterffy, a Hungarian-born billionaire who came to the U.S. as a boy and who must have spent millions of his own dollars to get his message out as to why he was voting Republican. His ad was just about on every program multiple times. What was his issue? He was concerned that America was going down the “slippery slope” to socialism.
Was this man, who owns a seat on the New York Stock Exchange (thanks to the opportunities afforded him as a young immigrant) really concerned about socialism or was there something else at play here?
Four years ago, in my astonishment that Americans had indeed elected a Black president, I said that I couldn’t see any other major, developed country doing the same. Not England, not France, Germany or any other European country, not even Canada, although we came close by naming Michaëlle Jean as Governor General, but hers was an appointment. Still.
Today, I know that it was not a fluke. And this country’s people have proven that, as the president himself said in Chicago early on Wednesday morning, they are more than the sum of their individual aspirations.