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America's first black president?
by Amin George Forji
2007-01-25 09:39:53
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The US Presidential Election is unquestionably the most popular election the world-over. Many leaders and countries traditionally use it as a reference to justify their own democratic culture. This is not just because of its beauty and entertainment, but more so because whoever is elected will become one of the worlds best known public figures.

Whoever is elected will a rare opportunity to be able to change or influence any major situation in the world. To say the least, whoever is elected will become the most powerful leader on earth, with even more ability to influence world situations than the UN’s Secretary General.

Despite its ambiance and popularity, neither of America’s two major parties, the Democrats or the Republicans, has ever nominated a female or a black person to contest the presidency. What has, until now, been the prerogatives of “white men” per se contesting for the top job at the White House is apparently bound to change during the forthcoming 2008 poll in the Democratic Party.

Although the next Election Day is nearly two years away on November 4th 2008, most of those aspiring to run have already made their intentions clear. In the Democratic Party, the two purported frontrunners Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in fact the most unusual candidates that could be nominated by any party to contest the race. Both senators have announced the formation of their presidential exploratory committees, which is the first step to begin the official campaign for the primaries.

If nominated, New York Senator Hillary Clinton will not only become the first female in the history of her party and in fact America to be appointed to that prestigious position, but moreover will become the first ever First Lady to contest the American Presidency. It is not as though a female or African American has never contested the primaries in the past, but it will be the first time that any either is campaigning as frontrunners.

Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, if finally elected, will also be setting a peculiar precedent as the first ever African-American to win that top position. While commenting about his likely presidential ambitions after his senatorial victory in the mid term elections in December last year, he jokingly said it all: "We are looking for something different—we want something new."

The fundamental question remains: Is America ready for a female or a black president? That is the question. The most that can be said is that the Democratic Party may be about to take its biggest gamble in the history of its existence. If any of the two is nominated, there is a high chance that the populace may decide to vote in favour of the Republican nominee in disapproval of the Democratic nominee’s sex or colour. Can the Democratic Party afford to take such a risk?

There is a strong tendency that because both of President Bush’s Secretary of States (Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice) were both African-Americans, the first in American history, the only way for the Democratic Party to measure up during the next presidential elections in making real the promises of national integration will be to nominate one of these two “abstract” candidates.

Even if one of them goes on to win both the party nomination and the presidency proper, using the other as Vice President would make a wonderful cohabitation dreamt by the late Martin Luther King Jr: in 1963: “The sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

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