There is no doubt about it, the 2008 US Presidential election has captured the attention of the world. Perhaps this interest is due, in part, to the fact that a black man has never been this close to winning the White House. Perhaps it is because women have been highly profiled in the election race. The list of possibilities is endless, but whatever the reasons for the unprecedented global interest, there is one common denominator – the rest of the world will continue to be affected by US policies – so in a sense, this is their election as much as it is America's. And in one little corner of the world, at America's back door, Caribbean bloggers have been monitoring developments and waiting for this day…
Barbados Free Press doesn't mince words:
There is a lot at stake in the US Presidential election that goes far beyond who will be the leader of that country for the next four years. Whether Obama is white, black, coffee or purple doesnâ€™t count anything beside the specter of the United States continuing along itâ€™s current path.
That military-industrial complex has run free since 9/11 and continues to do so. Under the guise of protecting people from Muslim terrorists, the United States government and other world governments have convinced their populations to surrender hard-won freedoms and individual rights. Breaches of the existing human rights and personal freedoms laws by authorities are treated with indifference by all sectors of Western governments – and that includes the Barbados government.
There is much at stake in the US election for Barbados and the rest of the world.
Blogging from Trinidad and Tobago, This Beach Called Life refers to a poll published in The Economist magazine to underscore the fact that the world appears to favour Barack Obama:
I donâ€™t intend to tell Americans who to vote for but the World seems to have made up its mind.
Jamaican blog A Fe Me Page Dis Iyah even posts some videos to prove the extent to which “the Caribbean community supports Barack Obama”, but some bloggers are not comfortable counting their chickens just yet. Numalali, from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, says:
All the indicators point to a victory for Barack Obama. He is ahead on every predictive index. But, can we count on the the polls, the pundits and the predictions? Is America ready for a black man, a black woman, a black family in charge of the White House? Like millions around the world I await with bated breath.
In a follow-up post, Numalali continues:
The whole world is in a frenzy. Both Obama critics and supporters are doing all they they could to either diefy or demonize him. Let us all wait and see what happens on Tuesday.
Womanish Words (from the Bahamas) is optimistic:
Amazing days, America appears to be on the verge of electing a Black president. This is really a ray of light and hope for the world. Obamaâ€™s election will change everything. Change is good. Iâ€™m grateful to be here to witness it. I grew up electing Black prime ministers. But there I was, keening for a good thirty three seconds at the thought of a new world leader who is actually a good man. And just to make it all the better, he's Black. He's a symbol of a new day dawning, a new generation emerging, a new era beginning. After the tears, I forced myself to remember that it's not over yet.
It certainly isn't over yet. Circles Robinson, blogging from Havana, knows that there is a lot at stake:
The US elections on Tuesday have overshadowed my thoughts. Iâ€™m not alone. A lot of people on the island are wondering whatâ€™s going to happen, as is a good chunk of the world.
Up until the explosion of the current financial crisis, I firmly believed that John McCain was going to be the next president, the same way that I thought George W. Bush would win reelection in 2004.
The race and terror cards and preference for the old but known seemed to me more powerful than anything the Obama campaign could come up with.
I still fear that McCain has a shot to win, but Iâ€™m no longer so sure of my predictions for the US electorate.
Thereâ€™s a lot of responsibility on the backs of US voters on Tuesday. Cubans like the rest of the world will be watching with angst.
An American living in the Caribbean writes in her blog, Letters from Grenada:
I admit Iâ€™m more than a little nervous. Iâ€™m a lot nervous.
I can easily recall how casually confident I was in 2000. In 2004 I was fiercely confident, because how could lightning strike twice? (Answer: Easily, if youâ€™re still standing in the same place.)
But it will be different this time! Wednesdayâ€™s going to a (real) new morning in America.
Bermudian blogger The Devil Island can't stand the tension and posts one of his signature cartoons to prove it, while his compatriot Breezeblog implores Americans to “do the right thing – for humanityâ€™s sake”:
With just a few hours to go, hereâ€™s hoping that Americans finally do the right thing and make history by electing Barack Obama President. They couldnâ€™t possibly screw it up a third time, could they?
Barbados Underground has no problem with calling a win for Obama “by a landslide”:
If we are to judge by the results of our unscientific poll, Obama will be the winner of the USA 2008 Presidential election with over 400 electoral votes. After careful analysis we are prepared to say that Democrat Presidential hopeful Barack Obama will win with 300+ Electoral votes.
It has been an amazing campaign for several reasons. As the world watches, the United States of America seems set to catapult a man of colour into the White House. When it does happen the world maybe changed forever.
Trinidad-based Coffeewallah, who maintains that “every day is history in the making”, concedes that today is a “red letter day” for America:
Whatever happens…there will a first, either first Black American President or first Woman Vice President. I wonder at the American people who constantly cannot understand why the rest of the world “does not like us”, we've seen up close and personal what you really think. Those of us that are a different colour have no illusions at all, as we say in the Caribbean, “your business in the road”. I hope that Barack Obama wins, decisively. What a message that's going to send…
Chookooloonks, a Trinidad diaspora blogger who is also a US citizen, says:
Everything is about to change. Regardless of who wins the election, in my opinion this has been one of the hottest, most contentious races in recent history. Regardless of who wins the election, there will be a new president of the United States, the first new American leader in 8 years, and the results of this election will have global impact. Regardless of who wins the election, things are going to change.
And, for the first time since I became a U.S. citizen 14 years ago, I find myself really emotionally invested in the outcome: dear God, I care. I really, really care.
The opportunity to vote is one of those times when you get to draw a line in the sand, put your stake in the ground, and do whatever other metaphor you can think of that says, “hear me, dammit. I count. I matter. I believe this to be true.” The act of pulling that lever, or pressing that button, or clicking that icon is a very, very powerful thing. Do not believe that your vote doesn't matter. It matters. It so matters.
Caribbean bloggers – most of them anyway – cannot pull that lever, or press that button or click that icon. But they can make their voices heard. Antilles, the weblog of the Caribbean Review of Books, sums it up this way:
Finally: it seems every newspaper and magazine in the world has endorsed one candidate or another…with Obama the overwhelmingly popular choice. Your Antilles blogger, like most of the world's population, can't vote, but feels he has a lot at stake in tomorrow's events. If the CRB were to endorse a candidate, who would it be? The smart, eloquent, cool, confident one who looks like he could be from the Caribbean, of course–that one.
Historically, all of the candidates for president have been old white men because they made up the majority of the pool of politicians and chose to run for the office. Believe me, there are many, many Americans like me who don’t like it any more than you do. So we’ve been forced to choose the “lesser of two evils” so to speak.
I hope that someday in the future our body of elected officials will be made up of a much more diverse group including more equal amounts of men and women and varied ethnicities. The government will not truly be the voice of the people until it is actually made up of the varied peoples of the United States.