“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr., at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963
In Belize this evening, apart from the floods and the catastrophe on the Northern Highway south of the Haulover Bridge, the headline news is really in the United States, and it’s all about looking forward to tomorrow. Someone who looks like a lot of us Belizeans, Barack Obama, the Senator from Illinois, is actually leading the polls as the favorite to win the presidency of the most powerful nation in the world. His opponent, John McCain, the Senator from Arizona who is one of America’s greatest war heroes, tries to pull perhaps the greatest upset in American presidential elections since the Democrats’ Harry Truman stunned Republican Thomas Dewey in 1948.
Many Belizeans are holding their collective breath. They are glued to their television sets as they hope for what Americans forty years ago would have considered a miracle inconceivable.
In a world which is more mixed in race and culture than ever before, the news that Barack’s white grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, 86, had died this morning in Hawaii, highlighted the fact that this is a special man who represents both black and white in a unique and unprecedented way.
A Barack Obama victory would be more symbolic, of course, than substantial for people like us in Belize. It wouldn’t change our lives materially, not now and not in the foreseeable future. The symbolism which is exciting would be that one of those human beings who would actually have been denied the rights of American citizenship less than a century and a half ago, because he is black, could now become the president of the United States – the most powerful man in the world.
We never headline international news at this newspaper. But Obama versus McCain is absolutely history in the making. The whole world is watching, and waiting.