PERTH, Australia – Never before have I watched an acceptance speech which has moved me to tears. Never have I been witness to a moment in history that has made me so happy that I’ve cried for almost an hour. Never have I been so ecstatic to see an individual succeed. Never have I watched hundreds of thousands of people across the globe shout out in unity for the dawn of a better day; a better world.
In his speech on Election Night, President-Elect Barack Obama told a mammoth crowd in Grant Park, Chicago – as well as millions of people world-wide – that the hope of a better day has been a long time in the making. He assured his people that a government of the people, for the people, and by the people had not vanished from the Earth.
With all due respect to Republican Sen. John McCain, who ran the race to the White House as best as he could, it just so happens that he was beaten by the best man for the job.
And what a race it was! The race to victory at 270 electoral votes had speed bumps along the long and winding road, but America got there eventually, with Obama winning with 365 electoral votes to Senator McCain’s 162.
More people voted in this election than in any other presidential election in United States history.
The President of the United States of America should be able to inspire those not just in his country, but around the world, to believe that democracy is alive and functional. He or she should inspire the people to take an interest in what is happening around them and care when things aren’t exactly going according to plan.
Obama does this. He has proven he can inspire a nation as well as the rest of the world. If anyone is still doubtful of his abilities, maybe they should watch that acceptance speech again.
The first African-American elected to the status of President … I never thought I would see the day when that dream would become a reality. Just half a century ago, African-Americans were still struggling with segregation.
Civil rights leaders rallied for equality one small step at a time. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. died from an assassin’s bullet, fighting for the hope of a better day. I hope that somehow he is watching over the world and knows what momentous events he set in motion.
Parents always tell their children that anything is possible, hoping that it is true. I tell my younger sisters to believe that they can achieve anything they wish – that nothing is out of reach for them if they just reach out hard enough. An African-American in the White House confirms that belief that anything is possible now. There is nothing we can’t do.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appeared at a press conference shortly after the confirmation of the 44th American president was announced. I watched his speech intently and heard him say a few words that I have been trying to express since Obama’s campaign began: “Forty five years ago, Martin Luther King had a dream of an America where men and women would be judged not on the color of their skin but on the content of their character.”
I hope that the people of this world finally start paying attention to content of character.
Congratulations President Obama – I look forward to seeing you sworn in on January 20, 2009.
Rebecca Baylis is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.