“Tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another – a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Because of you, tonight I can stand here and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States of America.”
— Senator Barack Obama
Almost as soon as Barack Obama uttered those words in his nomination speech, mainstream media sources simultaneously declared Obama the victor in securing the Democratic Party's nomination. Caribbean bloggers were online with reactions to the history-making news that a black man actually has a chance of winning the race to the White House.
Spirits have generally been high, even though, as Trinidadian blogger Further Thoughts says:
Sure, I canâ€™t vote, but Iâ€™m happy to call Obama my nominee. Wonderful news!
Barbadian bloggers are also celebrating. Bajan Global Report admits he has been “falling all over (him)self ever since Senator Obama won the presidential nomination for the the Democratic party last night”, while Barbados Underground is gracious towards Hillary Clinton in her defeat:
Although his opponent Senator Hillary Clinton has not followed the script and cleared the stage for the first African American presidential nominee to take the spotlight, we understand her disappointment.
Meanwhile, Cheese-on-bread! adds:
It will be interesting to see if he chooses Hillary Clinton as his running mate…
But Puerto Rican blogger Liza has no empathy for Hillary, calling her less-than-presidential “non-concession” speech “a lost moment”:
Last night was a truly historic moment and Hillary Clinton made history for all the wrong reasons. Instead of conceding to Barack Obama, instead of declaring him the rightful winner and instead of turning her followers’ attention to him as the legitimate nominee, she chose to turn the moment into a show of force against Obama.
Hillary Clinton became lost in her ego and completely oblivious to the powerful, history turning moment that lay right in front of her for the taking. She robbed herself of the opportunity of being the hero, of becoming magnanimous by rising above the petty fray and looking forward to making the once unthinkable happen.
Instead, she is not only continuing the psychological warfare she unleashed on the Obamas for the past 4 months. She is aiding and abetting the Republicans with anti-Obama talking points.
Hillary Clinton wants to fulfill her prediction that Obama will lose in November by making sure she keeps the rancor among her supporters.
Blogging from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Abeni admits “I wasn't backing any of the contestants but I did enjoy watching history being made” – and goes on to say:
Having gotten this far, I hope the similarity continues and he wins in November. I certainly hope there is no grassy knoll in his future…
While Cuban blogger Babalu agrees that the nomination is historic, he is disappointed in the Democrats’ choice:
His policies…are failed ones from the past; from the days of his Democratic icon, Jimmy Carter. All the Dems are in a hoo haa talking about “change” and about how great Obama can give a speech. Heck, Fidel Castro could give a good speech and he certainly brought change to a nation. So now it's time if the man can play with the big boys. He should be treated no different than anyone else. It's time to look beyond the color of the man and to look at his policies, his inexperience, and his judgment and character.
Guest blogger Dan Tanner, over at Dominica Weekly, says he doubted Obama's ability to secure the Democratic presidential nomination because he believed that the US was “too racist”:
I am relieved to learn that I was wrong. Every now and then someone, usually a Democrat, must come along and save capitalism…We can be certain that if elected President, John McCain would continue the failed Bush/Cheney war and economic policies. I hope that Barack Obama will be elected President and that he can somehow, probably with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, undo the damage that the Bush administration has done to the US, its economy, its military, its position in world opinion and to its Constitution.
And in a very well thought-out post, Bahamian Nicolette Bethel examines what Obama's nomination could mean for the Caribbean region:
The Obama/Hilary competition is more important to my mind for its symbolic value than for anything that it means to me as a Bahamian. I donâ€™t think for one moment that a Barack Obama presidency is going to mean to us what it will mean to Americans. In fact, Obamaâ€™s worldview is quite likely to do us in The Bahamas less good than we might think â€” heâ€™s accepted the realities of the 21st century global economy, and we still have no idea what those are. Strangely enough, if Obama becomes President, our best route to the Americans will be through the much-despised Caribbean.
But thatâ€™s by the way.
The race for the Democratic nomination is symbolic because from the beginning it ensured that the next Democratic contender for the American presidency will not be a white man.
Tonight is symbolic because the black man won.
Let us all take off our hats and stand in awe.
What also fascinates her about the battle to win to Democratic nomination is the fact that “the election was a truly democratic one”, in which citizen media had a role to play:
Forget the spin and the punditry and the experts; nobody has a real clue which way this election is going to go, because nobody has figured out how to translate the discussions that are going on in cyberspace â€” and that have driven Obama to his victory â€” into votes. The people, for the first time in what seems forever, are driving the candidates and the spinners and not the other way round.
…which brings her right back to the politics that actually do affect her as a Caribbean citizen:
What saddens me, though, is that we Bahamians have yet to invest our hearts and minds and interests in our own political campaigns and drive those people who imagine they have the right to lead us.
One thing is certain though – the Caribbean may not have a vote in the US presidential election, but it certainly has a voice – and bloggers will continue to closely monitor the political developments that will have an impact (however small) on their everyday lives. There may even be a few lessons to be learned. In the words of Barbados Underground:
It has been a long and exciting campaign and the world watches to see how one of the worldâ€™s powerful countries continue to manage a key element in its democracy i.e. the election of a leader.