--Mwai Kibaki, Kenyan President
Today, the daddy is feeling two articles about the importance of President-Elect Barack Obama's victory, its connection to the founder's concept of American democracy, especially to African Americans in the southern part of the United States: "An Eternal Revolution" by Harvard sociology professor Orlando Patterson and "An Open Letter to Barack Obama" by writer Alice Walker.
In her article, Walker, a feminist, womanist (a kind of special kind of feminism for women of color), author of "The Color Purple" and Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, makes the point that Obama's victory had deep meaning for blacks from the South, the depth of which Obama (having not lived in the South) could not fully appreciate. She also expresses the hope that, beside providing great leadership as president, he will continue to be a good role model for all Americans.
Patterson is a scholar, but he is best known for his insightful, if controversial, Opions in the New York Times. In "An Eternal Revolution," Patterson, frames Obama's victory as a result not only of Obama's brilliant, steady leadership and brilliant intellect but as "an ever-evolving process that began with the election of George Washington in 1789." He argues that a key element of that process has been the persistent struggle of three groups that were originally excluded by the founding fathers, three groups that played a key role in the election of Obama: women, blacks, and youth.
An Open Letter to Barack Obama
by Alice Walker
Dear Brother Obama,
You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.
To read the full story, click here.
An Eternal Revolution by Orlando Patterson
BARACK OBAMA’S victory marks the end of another magnificent chapter in America’s experience of democracy. But rather than being seen as a radical transition, it is best viewed as part of an ever-evolving process that began with the election of George Washington in 1789. To interpret it as a foundational change, ushering something new and unknown, is to diminish the past, to unduly singularize Mr. Obama’s achievement and to raise unrealistic expectations about his presidency.Mr. Obama owes his victory, first, to his gift of leadership and personality: the hybrid cool of his charisma, his cathartic power to mine unity from difference. But his triumph depended on voters, first prone to see his candidacy as exotic, to recognize it as something that could (and would) only happen here. That they did stems in large part from the founding fathers’ clear vision of the ideal makeup of a democracy: an inclusive electorate, political participation and political power sharing.
To read the full story, click here.