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Obama Will Shake Things Up | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Republicans are concerned and disturbed because like the Democrats; they sense that US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will win the presidential elections by a large margin.

A senior Republican Party official who is close to a former US president could not hide the anger in her voice over the considerable amounts of money raised by Obama’s campaign this month; a figure that amounts to US $52 million. She went on to accuse some Arab states of making donations and supporting the US presidential candidate because he is of “Muslim descent”.

Democratic loyalists claim that it will be a very eventful time between now and the coming November, furthermore upholding that the world is a dangerous place that is full of surprises. When asked for an example, some expressed concerns about a new terrorist operation in the US at the hands of Al-Qaeda’s leader Osama Bin Laden.

According to one Democratic supporter: “The election of a black US president is a very sensitive issue and we may find ourselves confronted by a new surprise in the aftermath”

Indeed, the election of an African American president in the US is a radical idea that will cause a huge uproar and debate. He explained, “Let me give you an example; if a white girl started dating a young black man and told her parents that they were romantically involved, perhaps they might discuss the idea but they would probably approve of it. However, if after a couple of months the girl were to tell her parents that they had decided to get married, the parents would then protest and say ‘hold on a minute, this is an entirely different matter.’”

This is not unlike the situation with Barack Obama. In the US presidential primary elections, he was well-liked and admired by the people; however, since the race now is only between two candidates (John McCain and Barack Obama) the debate will reach fever pitch. But in the end, the parents will grant their consent…

Obama represents radical change in America and worldwide; it is the most dramatic [promise of change] since the sixties and early seventies – he belongs to a different generation. Phil Nobel shared some insights; Nobel played a key role in the South Carolina caucus alongside Obama, which was one of the three important states he had to win over in order to secure the democratic presidential nomination.

As an Arab woman, why should I trust Obama? Nobel’s response to my question was “How can you trust anybody? But there are a number of aspects to Obama; he is a unique individual by virtue of some circumstances that have had an impact on his life, thus lending him a different perception of the world.”

Nobel continued to say that most US presidential candidates were born and raised to white parents in the US and were either Protestant of Catholic from the upper class and had graduated from esteemed universities. As for Obama, his mother is from Kansas and his father is an African Muslim [Kenyan] and he travels to visit his grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins – all of whom live in a poor Kenyan village in rundown houses that lack electricity and water. This is his family.

Moreover, Obama spent several years at school in Indonesia after which he returned to the US to graduate from Harvard Law School and was the first African American to become president of the ‘Harvard Law Review’. It goes without saying that any African American who is recognized and awarded such a prestigious position has succeeded in making his way up to the top of the American institution, which is exclusively owned and run by the elite that represent power and money in the United States.

After law school, Obama worked as a community organizer and a civil rights lawyer in Chicago and was actively involved in social work, including projects working with street children in Chicago.

These factors and circumstances serve to highlight Obama’s unique background and upbringing, which in turn gives him a distinctive outlook to the world that is markedly different from the mainstream.

Europe is clearly caught up in the Obama-mania and the same applies to the Arabs living in Europe who are equally enthusiastic about him – but what about the Arabs in Egypt, Palestine or Lebanon? How can they expect any change in Obama’s term?

Nobel recounted what had happened to him in Egypt’s Western Desert five months ago. He said that a group of children, approximately 10 years of age, ran up to him and asked, “Do you support Obama or Hillary [Clinton]?”

“I support Obama,” he replied, to which the children declared that they support Obama as well.

The Democrats that back Obama’s campaign affirm that he is capable of changing the world’s perception of the US after years of the Bush administration and that he will also change America’s view of the world. Nobel revealed that the fact that Obama had been a law professor meant that he had the characteristics of a teacher. He added that the US feels uneasy towards the world and that Americans have limited knowledge about the rest of the world by virtue of “the size of our country,” as he put it.

“We are immersed in our culture, which is incredibly dominant and does not allow us to understand the world. We don’t watch Al-Jazeera satellite [channel] and we do not watch Japanese film productions; we are blind to cultural differences. We are limited in a sense but then we regard the world on the basis that we are the world’s most powerful superpower. We fear what we hear about China, for example. This is why I believe Obama will succeed in explaining to the Americans what is going on in the world,” explained Nobel.

Following his tour of the Middle East and Europe, Obama will devote himself to selecting a vice president. Many believe that he might choose Caroline Kennedy, ex-US president John Kennedy’s daughter; however, his campaign managers have ruled out the possibility maintaining that although she was an intelligent and wonderful woman, she lacked political experience.

Phil Nobel added, “It is difficult enough for America to elect an African American man, a female vice president would be very difficult to accept at the same time.”

A political observer noted the possibility of Obama appointing a Republican as vice president, the name Chuck Hagel crops up in particular. If that were to happen then it would be living proof that Washington will witness changes during Obama’s term since no Democratic president has ever appointed a Republican vice president. But Obama can find a Republican who shares his vision; however it would shake up the political regime and traditional politics whilst allowing for more openness and different views. But what if something was to happen to the democratic president, would the White House shift to Republican in this scenario?

Nobel said: “Of course the vice president would succeed as president in this scenario; however if a Republican is indeed appointed as vice president, he must be supportive of Obama’s ideas. It would transcend the rift between the Democrats and Republicans. If Obama suffers an incident of some sort, his vice president, even if he were Republican, would need to appoint a Democrat for vice president so as to keep the vision alive.”

However, with the US presidential elections looming near, there are concerns and fears that Obama could possibly be targeted for assassination so as to prevent an African American from reaching the White House. His campaign managers liken the possibility of assassination to cancer; a man tries to lead a healthy life, play sports and avoid smoking but when cancer strikes; it does not take any of these things into account.

The security men entitled with Obama’s protection are exerting maximum effort because they know that attempts to assassinate him are very likely. The Democrats are intent upon reaching the White House and will do anything to win.