A Black Man in the White House
It is amazing how much foreigners know about the going-ons and happenings in the US. Growing up in a foreign country myself, we always paid attention to US elections. Not just because we liked the drama, like Prince Charles falling in love and marrying Diana Spencer, and then every subsequent step along the journey of falling out of love, but because it actually had consequences to the shaping of policy in our little country.
I never realized what it meant to the world that the people of the United States of America elected a black man and his black family to the White House. What that meant in terms of progress, democracy, racial equality, diversity, and just pure hope.
We checked into the Ocean Bay Hotel on the seaside resort town of the Gambia called Cape Point, near the high-end diplomatic residences. There was grass and flowering trees, clear evidence of irrigation, and you knew you had left the French and were now with the Brits. As the sun was about to set the exterminator started making his rounds with a mask on face, attempting to spray and kill all the mosquitoes starting to revel in the dusk, their favorite time of day, as is mine.
An intelligent and dignified, rambling beggar started talking to us on the beaches of Gambia and shared his pride in Obama’s presidency and was incredulous of this administration’s efforts to dismantle his legacy and take away healthcare for the people. Incredulous of the fact that the same people that had elected a black man to the presidency could also elect Donald to the presidency.
It reminded me once again what an impact it would have had on the world if the women of the United States had been able to elect the first female president to the greatest superpower in the world. Indeed, the world has progressed with female heads of states in the UK, Germany, and even more male chauvinistic countries like India, Brazil, and Korea, but I still am angry when I think of the subversive sexism thinly veiled by the word likeability or lack thereof when it came to describing to Hilary. People didn’t like Hilary from the days she was in the White House because she was smarter than her husband and wanted to work on policy issues rather than visit orphanages and host cocktail parties and stay in her place like a First Lady should.
Lesson number six: do not underestimate the impact of US politics on the world. It is a treasure and should be used to set role models.
All images courtesy of NewsWhistle
A GUIDE TO SENEGAL