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January 22, 2009

As the Obama Rises

Like many other Filipinos and millions more worldwide, I fought my way to see American President Barrack Obama's inauguration. While others battled cold and distance, I battled sleep, as it was past midnight when the ceremonies finally began.

Being a proud Filipino, one who gave up a green card at that, I was never one to really relish America. While I may be more Ugly Betty over Betty La Fea, being true to my roots has always been very important to me. However, as I watched the first African-American man take the oath of office, I could not help but be awed by America's progress and power.


To be honest, I did not even want Obama to be the democratic candidate (not that it really would have made much of a difference to me. Nonetheless, I truly wished Hillary Clinton would have been the candidate for one simple reason: she was a woman. I figured, American politics didn't really matter to me, so go for something I could actually care about (which was Women's empowerment). When Obama won the nomination and McCain picked Palin to be his running mate, who do you think I wanted to win then? Of course, I went McCain. Well, this was just the woman in me speaking.

Anyway, despite my personal preference to have a woman in power, I realized that politics is really much bigger than me (like, duh!). With that said, I eagerly anticipated the outcome of Novembers election, and was, like the rest of the world, honored to see the rise of Barrack Obama.

During his inauguration, I could not help but be awed and amazed at the pomp and circumstance of the whole ceremony. I was also, in a small way, glad to see the little fibs and falters made throughout the program. From the late start which saw Obama become president even without his oath of office yet, to the mistakes in the actual oath taking. It gave me a more human view of American politics.

If there was one thing, though, that made me appreciate staying up late despite knowing I would struggle through work the next morning, was the commentary in CNN while they were doing the countdown to the inauguration.

One particular comment that struck me (pardon the editing, this is how I remember it best) was the one that said something to the effect that since there is a black president, little white children will look at little black children differently.

This resounded with me because I know how it is like to be viewed as different just because I was not white. When I studied in the US for 9th grade, I did feel that I was seen different. To be fair, I wouldn't call it discrimination per se, because the people were actually nice to me, but perhaps it was more of a "looking down upon", like I was not as good as them. For instance, on my second day of school, we had a quiz in chemistry. Much as I sucked in chem, I was able to get a decent score, higher than my seatmate. Then he accused me of cheating. I responded that the only reason I looked at him during the test was because he was looking through his notebook during the test. I had no idea it was an open book test. Bottom line: without notes I still did better than him.

It was also a great thing to hear on national television because if you stop and think about it, how many African American role models are there on tv? Not much...just look at their TV shows...most are still Caucasian. Sure there are comedies and other characters that are black, but not as much. Bottom line: now there is someone great to look up to.

That comment was followed up by something like "now African American children have someone else to look up to other than Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods" and that now that there is someone else, and someone in a different field, can be an inspiration to them. So true!

It is true that Obama breaks many barriers. It goes beyond color. For one, he comes from a multiracial background. Plus his parents were divorced. Despite this, look at his success. I say this because many children of broken families tend to blame the breakdown of their own failures. I personally think he can serve as a challenge and, perhaps, a testament to what family values are.

In conclusion I must admit that this time, America has really awed me. Let's see how change really can happen as the Obama (administration) rises.

1 stars twinkling:

meL 1/23/2009 12:19:00 AM  

I agree with you Ri, Obama has broken down barriers to little black children's big dreams. I always heard black people tell their kids, "you can be anyone you want to be, but you can never be president." Now, there are no more limitations - they can dream, and they can dream big... and they can make their dreams a reality. Go Obama! :)

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