It is understandable why cross-culturalists around the world are showing greater-than-usual interest in the lead-up to the US Presidential elections.
It is hard to imagine a more classic example of an outstanding multicultural being than Barack Obama. Of mixed German and Kenyan parentage, Obama was partly brought up in Indonesia, then pursued his education in Harvard before entering politics in Illinois and emerging as the first black American with credible aspirations to the Presidency.
What a breath-taking chance for the American public! If they vote Obama in, they will in one majestic stroke not only elect a President who possesses understanding of and sensitivity towards European, Asian and African cultures, but they will atone – to the best of their ability – for centuries of unpardonable injustice (also perpetrated by England and other countries) to the millions of slaves and their descendants who make up a significant proportion of the populace of the United States. Rarely can a nation have such a heart-warming opportunity!
Americans cannot re-write their history, but by permitting a citizen of the humblest origins to assume the highest office in the land, they would display a magnanimity and vein of wisdom that America sorely needs. United States’ allies of all colours and creeds would applaud the ‘correction’ of history’s misdemeanours. America’s foes and critics would be largely confounded. The errant policies of a needless war, of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib would be seen as aberrations, rather than characteristics, of America’s role in the world.
Sweeping changes are in the air. Multicultural Obama would seem to have the breadth of perspective to propose the right ones.