Yesterday, we said good-bye to President Bush, and hello to President Obama. I can understand the feelings of the African-American community, to finally see a man of color ascend to the highest office of our land. I am cynical with respect to the joy I see in non-colored America. I know, we are supposed to believe that has event has triggered a post-racial America. Those of us living in real America, like the teenager shot to death in Oakland a couple weeks ago, know that we have a bit of a way to go before we really become post-racial. There were a few statements that really irked me, both by anchormen and the general public. There was a sense of smugness that “our election process is so much better than the bloodier changes of power” across the world. Perhaps I’m being hyper-sensitive, but I got the distinct feeling they were talking about the Muslim world, specifically Iraq and probably elsewhere too. I’d like to remind Americans to thank God everyday that nobody tells us when to change Presidents, who an acceptable president would be, and what our Constitution should look like. I’d also like to remind Americans that if anyone dared to do any of the above to us, we’d probably bomb the hell out of them for their impertinence.
The other piece of tripe I heard was that “now people know there are no barriers to who can become President in the United States of America.” Hmmmmm…ask the women of America if they really feel that way. How about Muslims? Can any Muslim run for President, let alone win, without being laughed to death? Just because one barrier has been smashed does not mean all have. That over-simplification of the meaning of President Obama’s historic achievement was unjustified. Yes, it does mean that miracles can happen, and I kept marvelling that a nation that was built on slave labor finally elected the son of a man from Africa who came here by his own volition. It’s remarkable, and I kept praying that one day Allah will give Muslims honor and dignity in this country: Allahumma izzat al-Islama wal Muslimeen kept repeating in my head yesterday.
And, to those who are saying that our “long national nightmare is now over,” I’d like to ask you a few questions: did you vote for President Bush? If you are Muslim, chances are you did. Did you support the war on Iraq on the flimsiest of WMD “evidence?” Going by the polls, chances are you did. Did you believe that all the anti-war protesters were a bunch of trouble-makers who should be minding their own business? Chances are, if you’re like the people I run into, you did. You’re as much to blame for our “long national nightmare” as the former President himself. So stop patting yourselves on the back! President Bush didn’t become president by the Supreme Court alone…he had plenty of support, enough to give him a second term. Stop with the “long national nightmare is over” bit of nonsense, because “our nightmare” is only going to be over when people have jobs again, when the infirm have decent health care, and when we learn how to reconcile our might with how do what is right.
My favorite pictures of the day: