THE DOUBLE HISTORY MAKER
Lamin Sabally, Minneapolis
Imbued with the utmost pleasure at this time of my exceeding celebratory mood, I hereby loudly announce that I have enthusiastically voted for President Barack Obama, who pleasingly made binary history as the 44th US president with his re-lection as the first African American President, and the first incumbent in a long time to be re-elected since the wartime leader Franklin Roosevelt at a time America is faced with a whopping 7.9% unemployment rate.
He emerged persuasively victorious on November 6 in a race that was forced into a statistical dead heat by pundits, and was tantalizingly within the reach of the Republican challenger Mitt Romney who undoubtedly made a spirited, brazen and ferocious fight.
Now, the 64 thousand dollar question that keeps engaging my mind is how this skinny tall man, of Kenyan decent, who was a little known Junior Illinois Senator, prior to delivering a fiery, captivating and electrifying keynote speech with excellent grandiloquent oratory superiority in the 2004 Democratic Convention that formally ushered in Senator John Kerry as the Democratic presidential flag bearer able to perform this seeming miracle? Remember, most polls indicated a tie race nationally and in most battleground States even on election eve, and with such much at stake, most Obama supporters like me were exceedingly nervous at a time when Romney took an early lead in Electoral College projections while results kept trickling in.
When also put into proper perspective, it can be concluded that 2012 election will go down in history as one of the most expensive elections in term of spending that centered mostly on negative campaign ads. Political gurus have also suggested that President Obama is the most criticized, demonized, lampooned, and ridiculed US president in recent times. My recollections immediately scoops up some disquieting labels put on the President such as a socialist, income redistributor, foods tamp president, and much more that I am not comfortable to list here not only for the respect I have for the man I deeply admired, but also because these represent false characterization by his opponents for cheap political reasons.
In trying to briefly assess the president’s landslide victory that ended in a brutal blow to the Republic Party for not only losing their White House bid, also their loss of some key senate seats, I will have to wear two caps on here for this rancorous analysis. With my cap on as a former senior electoral officer with the Gambia Independent Electoral Commission in whose capacity as served as Assistant Training, Information and Public Affairs Officer with the acronym TIPA, it must be acknowledged that the Obama campaign deployed sophisticated ground works by deploying an teaming army of dedicated volunteers with the “go- get- out to- vote “crusade that took them door to door in addition to the explosive use of the social media avenues. The precision with this tactical superiority galvanized the president’s support base among women, minorities and the youths, among them, college students. These enthusiastic supporters swamped polling centers all over, where some of them waited for hours before they could cast their ballots. I was amazed by the long line I found at the center I cast my vote and the level of patience, maturity and enthusiasm I have witnessed among voters was profoundly impressive.
With my leadership proficiency cap on, Obama’s victory has largely to do with his quality leadership style. He had amply demonstrated this with the handling of the deadly super storm sandy that left behind trails of devastation. Sandy battered areas like New York and New Orleans are still unfortunately reeling from the inconceivable devastation. My heart sincerely goes out to all those affected while wishing them speedy recovery of their lives. The president approached the issue with maturity, humility and excellence by first calling an immediate suspension of his campaign for days that culminated in visits to ravaged states like New Orleans, where a politically scintillating Republican Governor and big time Romney supporter Christ Christie commended the president for show of excellent leadership. The president carefully calibrated his address to the storm-besieged New Orleanais because he was walking on a political land mine at the time. Overall, Obama scored handsomely on his handling of the situation, and aided by increasingly promising signs of economic recovery following release of new job numbers where the economy added over one hundred and seventy thousand new jobs, that optimism in the economic policies must have also spontaneously spurred high turnout. He has also exhibited leadership qualities such as vision, trustworthiness, sincerity and integrity. When he talks, you can lucidly discern that he meant what he said and he is widely believed to be also gifted in connecting with his audience by giving convincing speeches often delivered in great oratory styles. The election also showcased two fundamental difference of vision between Obama and Romney as to how to move America forward. While Obama succinctly argued that Romney agenda rejuvenates failed Bush Administration economic policies that put the nation in the current economic mess that he is trying to clean, which is fashioned on top-down approach, Obama spiritedly argued for his push of policies meant to build the economy with a bottom-top approach that hinges on building a vibrant middle-class as an engine of growth.
Now that the elections are over, it is time for the bickering to be completely laid to rest. Romney-Ryan campaign must be commended for making a spirited fight even though they loss embarrassingly because of excessive flip flops by Romney. His indecisiveness on pressing issues such as the economy, immigration, and foreign policy raised hyper suspicion amongst minority voters that he could have won. A clincher was made by Obama during the 2nd debate when he said Romney is “all over the map” in reference to his lack of coherence and specificity of his policies or vision for the nation. In my candid judgment, the say or do anything philology to be elected that Romney slavishly followed had immensely undermined his credibility as a better alternative to Obama. This infamous doctrine he propelled with high grade profundity also made him flatly failed the believability and likability tests that voters are looking for in a candidate. One thing that the Republican Party needs to work on is its outreach program to embrace all and sundry including the minorities if they want to remain relevant in the changing US political landscape caused by unprecedented population and demographic changes.
The unfinished works started by Obama are enormously daunting. The most urgent of all is tackling the pending “fiscal cliff” that can put the world’s greatest economy back into recession if an urgent bi-partisan deal is not hatched to permanently curtail the Bush left behind economic turmoil that this administration inherited and is determined to arrest with all seriousness.
Romney emphasized the enormity of the task in his concession speech when he urged politicians to “put the people before politics”. He must be thanked plentifully for being gracious enough. Obama has unequivocally renewed is willingness to work in unison with Republicans in a joint effort to stimulate the economy to faster recovery. Already, news coming out of Congress is very encouraging when House Speaker John Boehner made a concrete pledge of bipartisanship signifying his readiness to work with the president to ward off the looming fiscal cliff.
America is a beacon of hope, and this great nation that offers endless promises to the rest of the world, has the predisposition to solve its major problems with unalloyed commitment by political leaderships across all spectrums. Although the results from the elections heralded disturbing indicators depicting that the country is hugely polarized, this in its exhaustive analysis, does not mean that the scenarios posed permanent barriers that will prevent politicians of all stripes to agree to put the nation’s interest first as alluded to by Mitt Romney, for America- the land of freedom and the brave, to surmount the current economic problem, God willing.
Author holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership Studies from Bethel University in Minnesota, and is a former Gambian Journalist and Senior Electoral Officer with the Independent Electoral Commission.