Of course, in Britain and in much of Europe, Obama's victory has been met with both excitement and enthusiasm for the American people and for what they accomplished. Europeans seem to believe that this election represents a shift in thinking about American policies and racial issues. They feel that this decision will help to redeem America in the eyes of those who have developed negative feelings over the last decade.
In our country, and also in the countries in the Indian sub-continent, it is a pleasant surprise that the U.S. has finally elected a bi-racial president, especially one who has been so vocal about his strong global views. Even in the Middle East, there seems to be a feeling of relief as a result of president-elect Obama's views on the U.S. involvement in the war-torn regions in that part of the world.
In Africa, and in particular in Kenya, the homeland of Obama's father, people are too overwhelmed. The African people obviously feel a close tie to this man who represents a strong connection between the two continents. Likewise, the pride that many African-Americans have expressed in lieu of the president-elect's achievements has also been very touching.
It is good to see that so many American citizens chose to take advantage of their right and privilege to vote, unlike the previous years. Just before the elections, there were non-partisan Public Service Announcements on the Net, which encouraged the American to be more forthcoming, and participate in the democracy, by voting. American celebrities teamed up to spread awareness among the otherwise politically indifferent, and somewhat diffident urban middle-class and upper middle-class Americans. The non-partisan PSAs, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way, in particular, caught my attention. They attempted successfully to engage and inspire young people to register and vote and participate in the election process. Celebrities appearing in such PSAs included: Amy Adams, will.i.am (of the Black Eyed Peas), Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Bacon, Halle Berry, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Connolly, Courteney Cox, Ellen DeGeneres, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Jonah Hill, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Kiedis, Ashton Kutcher, Adam Levine, Laura Linney, Eva Longoria, Tobey Maguire, Demi Moore, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Ethan Suplee, Kyra Sedgwick, Michelle Trachtenberg, Usher, and Forest Whitaker. The substantial increase in voters who actually went to the polls is remarkable and represents hope for the democratic process. Likewise, the fact that many Americans looked beyond race when they marked their ballot choice is a win for democracy for all the world's citizens.
As I listened to Mr Obama speak, right after winning the race for the White House, at a rally in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois (broadcast on CNN), my heart was filled with joy and immense admiration. It may be freezing in Washington in January (20th of January, 2009, has been announced as the date of the swearing-in ceremony), but for millions of people from around the world the excitement would be palpable to see the new President-elect being sworn into office. It would not just be a change of party, that always fuels a little more interest, but this time we are all keen to see a member of the African-American community becoming the President of the United States of America. For most African-Americans, Mr Obama's election as the President is a dream come true that they didn't think they would see in their lifetime, and the same applies to me, a representative of a society developing and striving against all odds, clamouring for its share of progress and of equal opportunities. It is important for all of us to feel hope and to feel the ability to make our world a better place. Mr Obama has a tall task ahead!