Tag Archives: elections

Obama: Signs of the time

Ric Hernandez

Obama/Biden ticket in Show Low, Arizona. Photo: Ric Hernandez

I asked my dad to go out to his front yard in Show Low, Arizona, and take a picture of their Obama-Biden lawn ornament for me. It’s the nearest thing I have to a campaign button since my son ripped off my “Vote Obama” bumper sticker way back during the primaries. It’s true Trinidad is a long way from the US, I’m not American and have no voting rights, but still I wanted to publicly show my support for this extraordinary man in this once-in-a-lifetime moment, something too-cool teenagers can’t understand or abide.
Last week I came back from a short trip to Barbados where I found that like here, the big topic of conversation—every time—was Obama. We were at a Caribbean health conference and when we got together after hours, the talk would always turn to the US elections and the growing probability that he would win. Over the months people here have gone from not even imagining he could beat Hillary, to not wanting him to get the nomination for fear we would lose him to an assassin’s bullet or a bomb, to slowly daring to believe—and now the excitement can hardly be contained, even by usually taciturn Bajans. People say they are praying for him to win, and for his safety, powerless to affect the outcome with their vote but “trusting in the Lord”.
My father and step-mother have been canvassing for the Democratic ticket where they live in the mountains of Show Low, and will be working on election day. They say theirs is the only Obama sign on their street, but like the great mass of campaigners all over the US they are pressing on for their candidates. This seems to be paying off as the polls show Obama ahead and that even in Arizona, there in McCain’s backyard where my folks live, Obama may be catching up. But people hold on to their prejudices and some strange ideas put into their heads and repeated every day, like Obama’s a socialist, that he’ll encourage Islamic terrorists, and one just doesn’t know exactly what will happen on voting day. Even an associate of mine in the US told me yesterday that he’s always been a Democrat, always voted Democrat but he’ll be sitting out this election. Why? Because if Obama wins “black people in the US and in Trinidad will crow too much”. I guess he believes, like so many racists who don’t think they are racist, that it’s cool for African-Americans or black people on the whole, to entertain the rest of humanity with their music, dancing and sporting ability, but that’s about it. I think it’s time for something else to be imprinted on people’s minds: I think it will make for a better world for all of us. I think it’s Obama’s moment, and I feel it is “our” moment too…all of us who don’t want to die without seeing hope for the future.