Was it inverse racism that led me, and probably many others, to hope for an attitude, policy and actions more sensitive to human rights from a black person in power than his white predecessors?
After the terrible eight years with George Bush whose administration gave the world morally defunct and strategically catastrophic invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan with the spin-off lowlights of Guantanamo prison, rendition programmes and a deterioration of our rights to privacy under the mantle of “homeland security”, there was a craving for change that went further than the normal Democrats – Republicans divide.
The Republican Party offered the American people its dream ticket: a perhaps not senile but aging and self centred McCain and their very own version of a dumb blonde who was not even blond, Sarah Palin. Almost half of America voted for the Republican couple (46%). Obama came in at a disappointingly low margin.
Naively – it turns out - many expected that a black President would make a difference, especially in areas of human rights. It turns out that a black President is just that, a President who happens to be black. Obama promised to close Guantanamo and has not done so. Obama has allowed his military to torture a US soldier, awaiting trial for leaking secret documents to the wikileaks network. They held him in solitary confinement for months on end, forced him to sleep naked on sheetless beds, made to stand for parade in the nude. By not stopping this abuse, Obama condoned it. And then, there is the mass theft of our personal communications by the NSA.
This may be the one important legacy of Obama: an understanding that blacks are like everybody else.