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I have a dream

As Barack Obama claims the US Democratic nomination for the Presidency, Webdiarist John Pratt examines the significance of the occasion and some of what Obama hopes to achieve. John's last Webdiary piece was How green was my Kevin


Who would have thought this possible?

It was only 45 years ago when civil rights leader Martin Luther King said:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

The speech ended with:

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

As someone who saw the race riots of the 1960’s and the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, the prospect of a black U.S. President was indeed a big dream. Let’s hope that Barack Obama, if he is elected, moves the United States back from the brink of disaster. If democracy is to prevail it needs good leadership. If a black son of a Kenyan father can rise to the level of President in the US it gives hope to all who believe in democracy.

The election of Barack Obama could be a catalyst to spark vision into a world facing huge challenges. On climate change Obama said this to US auto manufacturers.

Well, I don't believe that climate change is just an issue that's convenient to bring up during a campaign. I believe it's one of the greatest moral challenges of our generation. That's why I've fought successfully in the Senate to increase our investment in renewable fuels. That's why I reached across the aisle to come up with a plan to raise our fuel standards… And I didn't just give a speech about it in front of some environmental audience in California. I went to Detroit, I stood in front of a group of automakers, and I told them that when I am president, there will be no more excuses — we will help them retool their factories, but they will have to make cars that use less oil.

Regarding U.S. foreign relations, Obama has had this to say:

I believe they will also agree that it is time for a new generation to tell the next great American story. If we act with boldness and foresight, we will be able to tell our grandchildren that this was the time when we helped forge peace in the Middle East. This was the time we confronted climate change and secured the weapons that could destroy the human race. This was the time we defeated global terrorists and brought opportunity to forgotten corners of the world. And this was the time when we renewed the America that has led generations of weary travelers from all over the world to find opportunity and liberty and hope on our doorstep.

It was not all that long ago that farmers in Venezuela and Indonesia welcomed American doctors to their villages and hung pictures of JFK on their living room walls, when millions, like my father, waited every day for a letter in the mail that would grant them the privilege to come to America to study, work, live, or just be free.”

The next few months will be a very interesting time in the United States. We may see Hillary Clinton team up with Obama and run for vice president. Bush will be gone and a hopefully a very different person will be running the United States,. a much more intelligent president with a good idea of what it is like to live outside of the US. Hopefully a President with courage and wisdom to lead the world into the 21st Century. Let’s hope that the security surrounding Obama is good, as there is likely to be many in the US who would not like to see a black man become president.

If we believe in democracy and freedom this has to be the best hope in years. It's a chance for all of us to believe that dreams can come true. The bell of freedom is ringing loudly across the world lets hope it tolls for all.

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Obamamania, the world is rooting for Obama.

They are free to continue basking in Obamamania.

The last thing they want to hear about is the senator's proposals for tax reform and transport regulation.

So, in Berlin they are wearing Obama t-shirts.

Karsten Voigt, a former government minister, has been able to declare that Germany is Obamaland.

In Rome, one restaurant is apparently selling Obama pizzas, with olives and pineapple chunks - surely this is doing the man from a Chicago a culinary disservice?

On Bondi Beach in Sydney, they are drawing battleground states in the sand and debating whether a black man can win in Kentucky or Tennessee.

If the world was given a vote Obama would win hands down. I think the majority of the people outside the US would like to see a change in leadership in the US. Perhaps the best thing the US voter could do for world democracy is elect Obama. Maybe Camelot is a reality after all.


Methinks they will do him in.

Obama is the Kennedy of a new generation

Obama is the Kennedy of a new generation. I have strong personal memories of the Kennedy election in 1960 that took a Roman Catholic to the White House for the first time. As early as January and February of this year, starting before Super Tuesday on February 5, I was discussing the comparison between the Obama and Kennedy campaigns.

On February 18 I wrote: “It is hard to see who can stop Senator Barack Obama becoming the next president of the United States. He has built up an excitement such as no candidate has created since President Kennedy in 1960.” Hillary Clinton tried to stop him and she failed. The Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, is a fine man, but he will not wage as forceful a campaign as Senator Clinton.

For a long time the under thirty age group has been disengaged from politics. Obama seems to be catching their attention. His fundraising on the internet has been a revolution to US politics.

Check out this pep talk to his campaign team. Note the age of the people who support him.

He certainly has charisma.


John Pratt, Obama might have charisma, but by no stretch of the imagination is he a "Kennedy": he is a con-man just like Rudd.

In a violent society such as the USA, I fear that if he is elected President he will be assassinated.

The primaries are over - now for the real fight.

Voters need to hear about the presidential candidates’ very different philosophies about judicial appointments and about how each would approach the profound damage that President Bush’s mismanagement has done to civil liberties, the balance of powers in the federal government and the United States’ standing in the world.

Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton spent the last year debating their marginal differences on these issues. The nation has enough problems, and there are enough real differences between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain on virtually all of them for a full debate that truly tests the mettle of the two men competing for the presidency. The primaries are over. That debate needs to begin now.

The next few months will give us a chance to know more about Obama. The good news is that, whoever wins, Bush will be gone. Next year the world will see a new US president – a young black man with a vision, or an old man promising more of the same. I hope that for the sake of the world we see a US president who is willing to withdraw US troops from Iraq, a president who understands the important role the US can play on the world stage. Hopefully we will see an end to unilateralism and a US that will lead the world when it faces the problems of climate change and global security. The world will be presented with many difficult challenges in the next US presidential term; we need a president with intelligence and abundant energy. Obama may just be the man.


John Pratt, Obama is Rudd with a suntan. There is no way the Americans will fall for him.

When is Margo going to take control of WD again?


L . Ferguson, the real problem is he may be McCain with a suntan, minus the walking frame.

As with Howard and Rudd,  we seem to be going from aged inflexibility to youthful bellicosity.  But why don't the new generation want to seize the opportunity for a clean break with the past, having gained their popularity on the promise of its over due repudiation ?

Obama will be elected; make no bones of it. But his braying about mid east affairs has already ruined my impression of him.

Obama and Rudd still streets ahead of Bush and Howard.

Paul Walter and L. Ferguson, six months ago we had John Howard as Prime Minister and George Bush as President of the US. Both climate change deniers and both enthusiastic supporters of the Iraq War. To see Howard replaced by Kevin Rudd and a good possibility of Bush being replaced by Barack Obama suggests that the world has taken a step in the right direction. Only time will tell if these leaders live up to expectations. On a scale of 1 to 10 for global leadership Bush and Howard would be at about 1 or 2 in my book, Rudd and Obama about 6 or 7. Still plenty of room for improvement but still streets ahead of the alternative.

In 2009 the world will be a better place for having two fresh leaders. We should encourage these new leaders to make the hard decisions on climate change and world peace. It is easy to be cynical but we do not have that luxury in these times of global threat.


Nah. Barely a day past it becoming certain, he has done a Rudd and forgot all the warm and fuzzy stuff and ramped up the hairy-chested anti-Iran rhetoric.

On the subject, don't any one bother me concerning Rudd either, if the report about him working public servants for 35 hours straight is true. So much for the end of Serfchoices.

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