Malcolm uncompromised so Martin cld dream/
Rosa sat so Martin cld walk/
Martin walked so Obama could run/
Obama ran so our children can fly!

I have no idea who sent me that text, but I got it mid-morning of the 5th – the day after a new history started…

The 4th of November 2008 is indeed the kind of night you tell your grandchildren when you’re old what did you do that day?

Me? I went to Las Cibeles, the official residence of the US Ambassador to Barbados & The EC, Mary Ourisman. Strangely enough, the last time I was there was in ’92 when G. Gordon Phillips was the Ambassador, who was also GOP – this was when there was a transition to Clinton from Bush. When I come back it’s to see another Republican about to capitulate to a next Democrat, weird huh?

The diplomat’s styles vary too, 16 years ago – Mr Phillips let guests have the run of the mansion with Budweiser, Miller, Bugles and other goodies from the USA. But nowadays, Mrs Ourisman kept folks mainly to the courtyard and living room to watch the excitement develop – her treats were limited to pig-in-blankets (sausage wrapped in bacon), salsa of varying strengths, cheese & corned beef sandwiches plus Ruffles. The booze thankfully included Cave Shepherd’s 100th Anniversary rum, which tasted better than Extra Old from Mount Gay. Later that same night, a guy came to me and said he had not had rum in 14 years and Obama’s victory made him change that – he was glad to try out the Cave Shepherd booze!

You began to wonder if a film was being made with the number of klieg lights blazing everywhere, their purpose became clearer later…

CBC, VOB, Advocate and Nation were all there – you could even “vote” and the sheet even had a slot for a Write in Candidate, then you put it into a red (GOP) ballot box… Borrowing from the Nation’s worm – I thought the box may get placed by a bush near the paling! But in reality? The results were 3 spoilt ballots, 13 for McCain but 81 for Barack Obama!!

There was a vast cornucopia of Bajan society, at first… the Chinese Ambassador & his wife, Paul Altman, Senator Patricia Inniss, DPP Charles Leacock, Senators Arni Walters & Damien Griffith, landscaper Anthony Hunte, agriculturalist Keith Laurie, the NCF’s Literary Arts Officer DeCarla Applewhaite, BGIS’ Ian Inniss with his spouse the Min. of Pub. Transport’s Chief Technical Officer Cheryl Bennett-Inniss and so forth.

You even had a choice of which way you could “meet” McCain & Obama – either pose with cardboard cutouts or two dudes in masks (they were sweating like pot covers in those hot plastic coverings)! The cutouts believe it or not were the major stars for different reasons…

One portion of the evening, these um, ahem, guys(?) were talking around the cardboard version of the soon-to-be 44th POTUS – “Ohhh my Gad, isn’t he gorgeous? I could just see myself running my fingers through his hair!” one of them blurts…

My jaw drops here with a loud “PLOP“.

Good Gad, if you feel that why don’t you just kiss him?” the other one sneers.

Um, you know what happened next – no, I did not take that photo, ok? Bad enough I heard it at all! Well, now I understand for sure that Barack is popular with EVERYONE!

Luckily the Play Of The Day more than made up for it… Jewel Forde was interviewing an American and while they chatted a strong wind gusted and suddenly the cardboard McCain fell at the feet of “Barack“! I kid you not, 2 minutes later they announced Ohio was Obama’s and shortly thereafter Pennsylvania was his too despite voting difficulties in Pittsburgh!

I suspect there was another reason for the bright spotlamps though – when McCain eventually made his Concession speech, I could see the Ambassador was crying (Uh, hello? She’s from Texas? What did you expect?) but I could not snap an angle for the same lights she posed in front of, smart! No tears for Obama’s Victory speech though, but she did appear to try to take a photo herself – but it appeared her batteries were low or the camera gave trouble as I do not recall the flash going off?

You know who your friends really are though – I called three people at 1:00 am and not one cussed me, actually they were surprised I had not called sooner – none of them slept and were watching too!

White Bajans and foreigners gravitated to FOX while black Bajans and Caribbean nationals watched CNN, there was no BBC at all for an impartial view! I loved how the excitement was so thick at the church where Martin Luther King‘s daughter was giving thanks – CNN should have had her talk outside, LOL!

What I also found thoroughly disturbing was that when it came time for Obama’s Yes, We Can! speech – the only white people about were US Embassy staff, everyone else was black Bajans! Did no one learn from the young Americans of all hues who supported Obama and wept for joy at his achieving the previously impossible? In his words

This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: yes, we can.

The reaction here in Barbados has been instantaneous, someone overnight at the Bussa roundabout placed a piece of cloth with the following message –


Even my family overseas have reacted strongly, in fact, I never knew they had such eloquent skills? Take a look at what they said –

I am only today able to read or listen to the coverage of the US election for a new president without being overcome with emotion.

So much has been written, so much has been said but throughout it all the election of Barack Obama can only bring a message of hope.

Hope for a fairer world in every sense; for countries to at least try to sit down and talk as a first option to resolving differences. Hope for our children, our children’s children, and generations to follow, that it might be possible to inherit a world that gives everyone a chance.

Hope that there will be greater understanding between men and that all who walk the earth will know that anything is possible in the struggle to achieve a good and productive life.

Such a big word, hope, but one that instills courage and shows light where before there might have been darkness.

Mankind is not so naive as to expect a miracle. Too many big issues and too many disasters to overcome. But until now the world has lacked any prospect of a leader of such apparent substance, intellect, foresight and human compassion for his fellow man.

America is only one bit of the jigsaw but our global world relies on strength and clear sighted leadership in the USA to help the balance in world affairs. Without a stable and strong America now there is real danger that our children will be walking into a nightmare. Already we are in the beginnings of this bad dream with the economic downturn, war, deprivation, corruption and greed. We need this light. May the flame not go out.

May the spirits of all of our ancestors rest easier now. May the burden of suffering, indignity, hopelessness and inhumanity be less weighty. May the gods smile on us and guide mankind to the light.

I cried when I read that, it is almost as beautiful as Obama’s exhortation on winning the presidency! But as the new US leader reminds us – this cannot be solved in 12 months or even one term, and there is much to beware of, I steeled myself and looked at Skinhead websites and there is still much evil out there (NB – I will not honour them by listing their links nor repeating their filthy mouths)… Revelations has happened, Armageddon fell and the angels have won – but it is up to Humanity to not only pick up the pieces but to pick up Peace!

2 Responses

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  1. those cutouts are pretty cool. i just ordered one from lifesizelegends.com, if anyone is looking.

  2. The Election: It Had to Be this Way

    By Timothy V. Gatto

    November 07, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse” — The Democrats winning Congress and the White House just had to happen. If we are ever going to change this country from an empire to a representative democracy, we have to rid ourselves of the notion that one corporate political party can do anything toward that goal. Barack Obama will be the catalyst for a new movement, away from false hope and false promises, not because he will deliver to the people of this country anything worthwhile, but because he won?t. This will be the final nail in the coffin of our corporatist society.

    There are so many so-called ?progressives? that have believed that it was the Bush Republican neo-cons that have gotten us where we are. This is wishful thinking. The Democratic 110th Congress did nothing but rubber-stamp every bill that was put before it. Democrats have blindly caved in to fear of being called ?anti-patriotic? if they voted against the meaningless war in Iraq. They put their political fortunes ahead of their conscience at every opportunity, from Pelosi taking impeachment ?off the table? to voting for the new FISA bill that granted telecoms immunity from illegally working with the executive branch to illegally eavesdrop on US citizens. They passed every military budget and went along with almost every Bush attack on our civil liberties. How one could possibly imagine that Barack Obama or any other Democrat could undo the damage they helped to create is just wishful thinking.

    This election had to happen this way if we are ever going to understand what we are up against. I voted for Barack Obama because it happened to be a win-win situation. The truth must be told and this is the only way to tell it. When the phony left, the ones who claim not to be liberals, but ?progressives?, understand that there is not a dime?s worth of difference between the Corporate GOP and the Corporate Democrats, then we will see our way to a rebirth of our civil liberties. This is the only way to convince the die-hard Democrats that their party has changed, and not for the better. The American Empire is alive and well operating in concert with the DNC, make no mistake about it. I wish I was wrong, in fact I would welcome any type of change towards a real representative government that put the people first, but I am saddened when I write that all indications don?t point that way.



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