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Editorial - Obama victory changes face of America


9 November 2012 07:25 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The re-election of Barack Obama as the President of the United States has changed the face of the world’s leading superpower and has some important lessons for Sri Lanka in issues relating to ethnic harmony, unity in diversity and social justice.

Though most opinion polls had predicted the battle for the White House was too close to call, President Obama eventually won with a popular vote of more than 59 million and at least  303 of the 538 Electoral College votes.

One of the most significant features of President Obama’s victory was the coalition that came together to bring him back to office. It comprised an unprecedented percentage of the minorities – Afro Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, young people, women and others such as civic rights or anti-war groups. Though the conservative White Americans and even the God Channel Christians supported the Republican candidate Mitt Romney, President Obama won decisively mainly because 70 to 90 per cent of the minorities supported him.

The Republican Party, in the aftermath of its defeat has been doing some deep soul searching. Some frontliners say the party may not be able to win the presidency again unless major changes are made in its orthodox, rightwing policies on issues such as immigrants, minority rights and social justice. If the Republican Party does not change and continues its hardline policy fostered by the tea party of Sarah Palin, then 2016 might see the United States electing its first woman President – the present Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. That would be the second great revolution in this millennium because in the late 1990s Hilary Clinton was too embarrassed to even show her face because  the world was watching live the sex scandal involving her husband, the then President Bill Clinton and a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. Former President Clinton, though he escaped impeachment only because the Republicans did not have a two-thirds majority in the Senate, has today repented and risen to great heights as one of the world’s most powerful peace makers. His popularity rating in the US is so high that President Obama called on him to play a leading role in the re-election campaign when the going was getting tough.

After all the bruising battles, President Obama has now got a second chance to restore the image of the US and make the dream of the martyr Martin Luther King come true. Then this world will be a better place where the Truth will set people free, where there will be liberation from selfishness or greed, and an equitable distribution of wealth and resources.

For Sri Lanka, the lesson is that we also could become a great nation if there is a foundation of multi-racial and multi-religious unity in diversity. Instead of a family dictatorship, corruption, deception and self-righteous sanctimonious humbugging, we need to turn around to genuine democracy, a separation of powers with checks and balances, good governance, accountability, transparency and honesty.

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