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Obama makes history as 1st black US President-elect

Obama makes history as  1st black US President-elect

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History was created on Tuesday, November 4, 2008. A black man won the race to become the 44th President of the United States of America.{{more}}

Many thought it would have been a fight to the end, but as the votes were counted, with millions around the world glued to their televisions, Barack Hussein Obama Jr., 47, cruised to victory to ensure that come January 20th, 2009, he will be sworn in as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world.

Obama, a Democrat, and his running mate Joe Biden, crushed Senator John Mc Cain of the Republican party and his running mate Sarah Palin in what Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves described as “a magnificent victory.”

“I think it shows the maturity of the United States society. Martin Luther King’s dream is becoming a reality,” former business executive, now business consultant and motivational speaker Dr Jules Ferdinand told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday.

Obama’s win sparked worldwide celebrations not seen in recent times, including here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Hundreds of Vincentians gathered in Kingstown on Wednesday evening for a celebratory party, while on Tuesday night, when Obama’s victory was announced, the bell at the Barrouallie Anglican Church rang jubilantly.

He needed 270 Electoral College votes in the unique American election system, but by press time Wednesday evening, the various television networks had him at 349 votes to Mc Cain’s 162, with an eight million lead in the popular vote.

“This victory is historic…it is the culmination symbolically and in real life of the struggle of thousands and millions of people across the world, including in the United States, leaders like Dr Martin Luther King,” Dr Gonsalves said.

Dr Gonsalves and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace both expressed their admiration for the way Obama ran his campaign and inspired the American people.

Eustace told SEARCHLIGHT that he admired the dignified way in which Obama ran his campaign, and even in victory had an attitude of unity and hope. He said that throughout the tough political battles over the last two years, Obama avoided stooping to the gutter politics of “personal assassination.”

“He was calm even in his acceptance speech, no set of flamboyance. He carried himself in a measured way,” Eustace said, noting it is something politicians in the Caribbean can learn from.

Dr Ferdinand was also impressed by Obama’s demeanour and told SEARCHLIGHT that he believes that what the world saw over the last two years of campaigning is the real deal and wasn’t just a show, which augurs well for the United States under Obama’s leadership.

“I think we saw the heart of the man and that augurs well for the United States,” he said.

Dr Ferdinand also noted that Obama’s ascendency should inspire minorities the world over to aspire to greatness because, though challenging at times, it is possible.

Dr Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT that, among other things, he would like Obama to open dialogue with Venezuela, Cuba and other countries that may have disagreements with the United States.

He will also like to see an end to the “illegal Cuba embargo.”

As he accepted the nod of the people for the Presidency, Obama addressed a crowd estimated at over 100,000 at Grant Park in Chicago and immediately called for unity and focused the hearts of the American people on the job that is at hand.

“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep…but America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there,’ he said.

“So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.”

“No matter how they cast their ballots, all Americans can be proud of the history that was made yesterday,” President George W. Bush said on Wednesday as he offered his congratulations to Obama, vowing to give him “complete cooperation “as he makes his transition to the White House.

So come January 20, 2009, Barack Obama, after he is sworn in, will, along with his wife Michelle, their daughters Sasha and Malia and the new puppy he promised his daughters, move into the White House.

“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America”, Obama said on Tuesday night.