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“Stand for change,” “Change you can believe in,” “Are you ready for change?” Change is clearly the message that the Barack Obama campaign team are trying to get across, and with the recent victory over Hilary Clinton it would appear that many voters are hearing the message loud and clear. However, a victory over Hilary does not guarantee a smooth ride to the White House, for America remains a country tainted by racial prejudice. So, the questions remain: Is America really ready for change? Has America’s entrenched racial attitudes changed so radically that a black man can be the 44th President of the United States?

The Obama team have run a great campaign that at times seems invincible. They have overturned many sacred cows of American politics, challenged established attitudes towards race and somehow manage to go over, under or around any obstacle that the Republicans and Hilary have put in it’s way. Obama’s middle name “Hussein,” accusations of being a Muslim, the inflammatory words of Jeremiah Wright and of course Obama’s non-negotiable skin colour, the cheap, underhanded tricks used to destabilise the campaign by opponents ready to exploit the residue of bigoted attitudes that fester in the white American psyche.

But, America has shown that it has come a long way from the bus boycotts, sit-ins and riots of the 1950’s and 60’s. Such are the shifts in attitude that Obama need not fear entering the White House under an escort of the national guard, after running the gauntlet of a screaming, bigoted lynch mob. America has changed and is changing. Obama’s campaign is shrewdly taking advantage of both the past and the present, re-inventing Obama as a contemporary hybrid Martin Luther King come John F. Kennedy, whilst exploiting the apathy and disillusionment in what America stands for. The zeitgeist of the time is that Americans want change, they seek a new American dream.

Can Obama deliver this change and what are his chances of becoming President? The day after Obama’s nomination as Democratic candidate for President, he gave a speech to a pro-Israel lobby group where he commented “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” His statement clearly indicates that the puppet masters of American politics have him on a tight leash and there will be no real shift in the belly of American foreign policy, thus the old oligarchs of America still reign. In regards to him becoming President, his chances are quite good. Not only have the American people become disillusioned with their country, but so too has the rest of the world. Something radical is needed to reinvent the battered reputation of America and reinvigorate faith in the dishevelled American Dream. Obama represents change and the puppet masters of American politics know this.

Ishmahil Blagrove, Jr.
Editor, riceNpeas.com

1st June 2008
EDITORIAL: The American Dream