The Ghosts of Hope

Posted on November 3, 2008


Well, I won’t believe it until I see it, but Barack Obama could win tomorrow.  And if that happens, it will represent a greater change than I thought I would ever see in my lifetime.

I believe Obama should win because he is a better person with better ideas than his opponents.

And I am delighted that he might win, because of what it will mean to the racial landscape of the Americas.  I believe it will give hope to all the people of colour who have been held down by the concept of race, who have been bullied into believing that only White people can lead, can do, can be successful.  If Obama wins, the self-defeating doubt that so many people of colour are plagued by, will dissolve, and these people will be able to go forward with confidence that there is such a thing – after centuries of racism – as racial justice on this continent.

This will be good for the USA.  It will also be good for Canada.  Because all of those people who have been held back by nonsensical concepts of race will be set free.  And in being set free, in learning to stand proud, they will go forth, they will succeed as never before, and contribute to our societies in ways that will benefit us all.  This hope will fuel a better and a stronger continent, as the poison and the weakening effects of racism disappears into the sewers of history.

I have heard that Obama’s grandmother died today, and I am truly sorry that she didn’t live to see what her grandson seems poised to accomplish.

My own father died six years ago.  The earliest lessons I remember learning from him had to do with racism.  He himself was directly affected by racism his whole life, although I never heard him blame it for anything that happened to him, because that was not the kind of person he was.

One of my uncles told me at my father’s funeral, however, how my father and my two uncles returned from fighting in the Second World War, and then went into the bar at the Royal Canadian Legion – a veteran’s association – to get a beer.  But the Legion refused to serve them because they were Native Indians.  Hitler would have been proud.

My father fought racism his entire life, while refusing to complain about it on his own behalf.  He would have been stunned to know that someone like Obama could succeed in world which for so long has been poisoned by racism and hate.

He would have been as hopeful as I am awaiting the outcome of the most important election in living memory.

I wish Obama’s grandmother had lived to see the outcome.

I wish my father had too.

Posted in: politics