“The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.”
It was the 35th U.S. President, the youngest ever elected at 43 years old, who said that. John F. Kennedy, assassinated in the middle of his term, was known for his thought-provoking quotable quotes.
Well, another charismatic, young
Yes, he can. And yes, he did. Barack Obama, 44th President of the
The world was witness today to history unfolding.
To a certain extent, the Obama candidacy excited not just the American voters but the world as well. I found it a curious departure from past
Here in the
As I listened, watched, and read in the radio, television, and the internet the many Filipinos who reacted to the Obama win, I couldn’t help but agree to many who said that his electoral victory serves as an inspiration to us, that there is a hope for change in this country and all we needed was a Filipino Obama who will rise from anonymity and take this country by storm and trample on traditional politics in the coming elections.
And who would disagree with that desire? We all want an inspired and inspiring leadership.
While many feel inspired by Barack Obama, there are also those who expressed admiration at Senator McCain’s statesmanship when he conceded and urged “all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.”
The man just lost a bitterly contested election yet he concedes and rallies the troops around his opponent. Indeed, he proved that his being a war hero extends all the way to his political battles.
His statesmanship is reciprocated by the magnanimous victor, when the president-elect said in his speech, “Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for
And he also extended his hand of reconciliation as he said that he was looking forward to working with Senator McCain in the coming days.
We are not used to this kind of statesmanship after elections. That is reflected by the many commentaries of people who, with near unanimity, all expressed the desire that the same could be said of Philippine politics.
Not a few said, “Why can’t we be like the Americans?”
I think that while the desire is there, we do not have what it takes to be like them in that regard. Well, not yet.
As I was listening to an interview over AM radio, a prominent, young and promising politician was ecstatic over the win of Barack Obama. The anchor asked him if we can have a similar, inspiring leader who could lead this nation, a Filipino Barack Obama.
The interviewee said, yes, we could have such a leader. But he added that what we need is to unite the political groups so that in 2010, there would only be one candidate from the opposition to go against the administration.
But there lies the problem---- we are looking for a Filipino Barack Obama. As always, we are looking towards personalities. Filipinos have that mentality of looking for a Savior, a Patron.
While Barack Obama is undoubtedly a charismatic, eloquent and inspiring leader, he is actually only a face of the Americans’ collective aspirations and what they stand for. What got him elected was not just who he is but what he represented.
He represented the American Dream which is Freedom, Equal Opportunity and Prosperity. He is the realization of their aspirations that in
Do Filipinos have those in their hearts? Do we, as a Nation, even have a concept of what it is to be free to follow your aspirations and desires… to rise up out of poverty…and have enough for your basic needs and have some more for your leisure?
The majority of Filipinos are only familiar with a society where only a college degree from a prestigious university will land you a good job; that not even everyone can afford to have a degree, even from a less prestigious university. Many of our countrymen are only familiar with being born poor, living poor and dying poor.
That is why we all look for that savior, our knight in shining armor. We can’t afford to have our own aspirations as individuals and as a Nation, so we rely on the one person who will save us.
Tragically, such a mindset only makes us slaves to the personal desires and selfish aspirations of the savior we are looking for.
We wonder why McCain and Obama could be such statesmen after their intense rivalry. Well, it is because they both know that there is something bigger than both of them. They know that what the American people expect is for their leaders to uphold the American Dream and Way of Life.
Obama’s campaign was successful because he always said it was all about the American People, and not about him. He acknowledged that the success of
Obama looked at himself not as a savior but as a servant-leader and for that he earned the people’s trust.
If we want to become like
Do we want to be like the Americans? Well, it’s going to take more than changing a President or an administration. The change will have to happen within each and everyone of us.