Today is Inauguration Day for Barack Obama - Reflections
Jan 20, 2009, 4:44 AM
never have thought of a day like this.Today 20th January 2009 the world will witness history with
the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th and the first African-American
president of the United States of America.Who would have thought a day like this would dawn at this point in
time?But with God, the ultimate shaper
of destiny, all things are possible.
In God we
trust.And when events unfold so very
swiftly and peacefully one shouldn't easily doubt therein the invisible and
sure hand of God.Consider the
formidable East/West Berlin Wall - how swiftly and peacefully it was finally
resolved.Swift and smooth endings also
characterized the release of South Africa's Nelson Mandela with the resultant
end of Apartheid and the emergence of that country's first black
president.Ian Smith's regime in Rhodesia came to a sudden end.So also did the end of Communist rule and
detente between Russia and the West come to a most
unexpected end? Should not Barack Obama's sudden/meteoric rise to such
prominence serve as another example of destiny?
witness tomorrow's inauguration the following events could make important
points of reflection.
Obama has made history by becoming the first African-American to be elected
president of the United States.This is so even though it has taken 389 years of a long and arduous
journey from the first slave auction in 1619 in Virgina to the election of
Obama in 2008.
people first came to America in 1619 as slaves; became emancipated by virtue of
the historic Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 by President Abraham
Lincoln.Blacks were made US citizens with civil rights
ultimately in June 1866 by virtue of the XIVth Amendment of the US
status, black people were able to vote only in 1870 (the XVth Amendment). By
the 1880s black people were segregated from white people in schools and public
facilities, and to a great extent denied political and civil rights, in spite
of these being conferred by the Constitution.Civil rights organisations and marches continued actively up to and
still after the famous demonstration march in 1963 to the Lincoln Memorial in WashingtonDC where the famous "I have a dream"
speech was delivered by Dr Martin Luther King.Meanwhile, black people have been appointed to high offices in the
Supreme Court, in Congress, State Legislatures, the US Navy and the Army, and
increasingly in all spheres of public life except the White House.That position was finally reached by Barack
Obama in November 2008.
- In 1887
Booker T Washington had made this forecast: "No project seeking material, civil,
or moral welfare ... can ignore this part (blacks) of our population and reach
the highest success."
Marshall became first black Justice of the Supreme Court in 1967.Captain Sam Gravely became first black Rear
Admiral in the US Navy in 1971.More
recently General Colin Powell and Dr Condoleeza Rice have become first
African-Americans to assume the highest offices in the US Military and the
Executive as Head of Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State respectively.
- In 1961,
Barack Obama is born in Honolulu, Hawaii, of a Kenyan father and American
mother.He was educated at grade school
in Indonesia, PunahouHigh School in Hawaii, ColumbiaUniversity in New York , and eventually HarvardLawSchool where he became president of an important
law journal, the Harvard Law Review.He
was lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School in 2002.He became a State Senator for Illinois in 2004.
- In 2008
he contested and won the presidential elections to become America's 44th and 1st African-American
president.His election results have
been among the best in American political history, eclipsed only by a very few:
by Franklin D Roosevelt's result of 1936 with Popular Vote of 27,751,597 and an
Electoral Vote of 523; Dwight Eisnhower's Electoral Vote of 457 in 1956 and
Popular Vote of 35,590,472; Lyndon Baines Johnson's 1964 result of 43,121,085
Popular Vote and 486 Electoral Votes.
20th January is the date stipulated for
commencement of terms in the US Constitution, which states: 'The terms of the
President and Vice-President shall end at on the 20th day of January, and the
terms of their successors shall then begin."So at on Tuesday the world will expect to hear those solemn words
of oath or affirmation: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully
execute the office of President of the United States ..."Then shall the world wait to receive the
first impacts of President Obama.It is
hoped then that he will deliver and live up to the expectations of the
Constitution and everyone's dreams including his own.Congratulations President Obama!!
these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
Declaration of Independence]
"I have a
dream that one day one would be judged not by the colour of his skin but by the
content of his character."