When we from abroad watch the American presidential campaign, we see a young man with an unusual name - Obama - take center stage. And we rejoice. We are beginning to see a new America. An America that is finally and definitely going to define a new direction. For this is not about race. It’s about breaking the race barrier. If Obama wins, this would change everything. It’s only a symbol, but this symbol will make all the difference.
It would re-establish America's respect in the world. It would prove that America is indeed the land of the free with equal opportunity for everyone. This is hope indeed. On the other hand, we see John McCain talking of other wars, and of more war-wounded and that ‘it's going to be tough'. We don't know what the ‘it' is that John McCain is referring to, but he seems to know. What is America fighting for? And is war the only and best way ‘it' can be fought?
There's endemic problems on both sides
The world is in turmoil. The people in the so-called ‘Third World' do not ‘hate America for its freedom'. They love America for its freedom! They hate America for dominating the world with bombs instead of spending its trillions on development. America is hated because it is rich and powerful and instead of sharing its wealth, it is fighting everybody. America is hated for the same reason Rome was hated: because it is governed by the gods of greed and lust for power.
Now, the problem with this criticism and hatred is that it does not make the haters look any better. If a Hugo Chavez, for instance, was a fair and balanced person, maybe he had a right to point a finger. But Chavez knows Venezuela is corrupt to the core. At first he tried to fight it, but he's now trying to establish state-run socialism with inevitable dictatorship to keep everybody poor (without realizing this apparently). So what kind of lust for power is he looking for? Maybe it's not money so much he's after. But he's certainly addicted to power.
And so it is in other countries. If the West decided to bail out Haiti, for example, and give and/or lend development aid in great quantities to build up the country, what would happen? The money would soon find its way into the pockets of a small number of corrupt Haitian politicians and businessmen, leaving the Haitian people just as poor and destitute as ever. Because there is an endemic problem of patronage and corruption in Haiti which - if it is not effectively tackled and dealt with - will stunt any attempt at development.
Reality will not just go away of its own
Unless we wake up to this reality and understand that a totally different approach is called for, politically as well as economically, Haitians will keep on being poor and destitute and will keep on hating not only Americans, but all Western democratic nations. Not because of their freedoms, but because of their wealth. Since time immemorial the poor have resented the rich for being rich. And this will always be so. And indeed, there is a universal principle called ‘social justice'. Any rich person who does not heed it, will have to build a high wall around his house with gun-holes in it and bar all his windows and doors. Living in a prison, he forfeits his freedom for money.
The answer is not to fight, maim and kill. Or, to put it more bluntly, to pay others to fight, maim and kill for you, which is what the rich usually do. The answer is to do everything in one's power to empower the poor and develop the poorer nations, not by giving them money, but by developing their economies and by making sure the people personally share in the growth thus generated, both in America and abroad. Will Obama deliver all this? Maybe, maybe not. But is there any hope of this in any of the other candidates? Yes, in Dennis Kucinich. But, then, he has withdrawn from the race .... If Dennis would take up binary economics in 2012, he will win. But this is music for the future now. In the meantime we have to go for Obama.
Our video today is a blatant Obama ad. There is a not so subtle suggestion that Obama is the new Kennedy. Well, at least he generates that hope....