With the election of Barack Obama, America has set the record straight. The American people have said it loud and clear that they want a change of direction. They believed and supported Obamaʼs message of change. The American people have delivered and it is now Obamaʼs turn to deliver. He has to show that he can walk the walk; that he is not only a man of words but a man of action as well.
The first obvious task for Mr. Obama should be to heal the divisions and wounds created by the toxic campaign discourse; he should reach across the aisle and form a bipartisan cabinet.
No doubt a top priority will be to address the financial crisis at home and on the global level, but equally important is for Obama to send a strong message to the world that he is ready to mend Americaʼs tattered image and restore its leadership role. And there is no quicker way to improve Americaʼs image than bring a speedy end to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
Another equally important step would be to redefine the erroneous concept of the War on Terror without compromising on the security of the American people and the world at large. Mr. Obama should show the world that America is great because of its values and its unwavering support for human freedom; the values and freedom that brought him, a biracial child of an African father and an American mother, to the countryʼs presidency.
The list of world challenges competing for the attention of the new leader is endless indeed. But one that cries for immediate attention is the tiny Island of Cuba. Obama should lift the trade and travel ban on Cuba. If America can have bustling business and cultural ties with Communist China, why couldnʼt it open its doors to rehabilitate a small neighbor crying for help and attention? By being magnanimous to a small pleading country, Obamaʼs America can teach the world that goodness can go a further toward resolving issues than can punishment.
America has set the record straight by electing Obama with an overwhelming majority. The multitudes of youth, women, elderly and people of all racial and cultural backgrounds that voted for Obama didnʼt vote for him for his skin color, but for the content of his message. It is therefore Obamaʼs turn to set the record straight as he did throughout his well-run campaign and rise to the occasion as the Mandela of America and of the whole world. And given to his campaign performance, I believe that he carries the hallmarks of a great leader.
Other pending issues include wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the security of Europe, the Middle East problem, poverty and internecine civil wars in Africa, the never-ending war against HIV/AIDS and other diseases such as Malaria and TB. It is however, too early to raise all these issues at the time that the President-elect is not yet in the White House. It is now time to congratulate him and wish him all the best.
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