By Marah Bukai
Exclusive for Al Waref
The U.S. institutions carry all the necessary chromosomes of eternal youth and attractive political vitality. It is still immune to the flaccidity and fatigue that hit aging nations. It will remain capable of running the democratic process inland and overseas into the third millennium of modern human history.
That is what I have always believed. I have chosen the U.S. as my home, in the full political, social and daily meanings of the word; away from any narrow partisan, ethnic or racial affiliation.
The U.S. recently reaffirmed their dedication to the democracy professed by the founding fathers since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It has proved that democracy is not just a theory for export, not just political revitalizing pills with temporary side effects , which oftentimes exceed its ability to cure. What I mean by American democracy is the political institutional movement and action firmly based in checks and balances.
Oftentimes, the American democracy is referred to as Jeffersonian democracy, defined as the set of political goals that were named after Thomas Jefferson (1743 –1826). The impact of the third U.S President on American politics has been, and continues to be, greater than that of any of his predecessors or successors.
Up to this day, Jefferson's teachings continue to be the Bible of U.S politics. The principles laid by this man are still honored as the guidelines of the world's greatest power. This man embraced vast liberties and adopted the oldest written Constitution still used in the world. The U.S. Constitution is America's most important export. From its very inception, its influence has been felt throughout the world. Jefferson looked upon the Constitution as a standing monument and a permanent example for other peoples. He once wrote: "We feel that we are acting under obligations not confined to the limits of our own society. It is impossible not to be sensible that we are acting for all mankind." Actually, the legacy of that historical document is evident today in the constitutions of most of the world's democracies.
On November 4, 2008, America recorded a huge turnout at the most recent presidential election that were by all measures historic and unprecedented; because of the economic stresses, foreign policy challenges, and diverse candidates. The two camps had controversial figures pushed to the political front: a Democrat black biracial man running for U.S. president, and a young lady, relatively unknown to political circles in Washington, bursting on the national stage and getting closer to the White House as the Republican vice-presidential candidate.
On that same night, Barak Obama's remarkable victory over John McCain was announced. In his presidential victory speech of November 4th 2008, Obama said: "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer...It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."
Veteran black Republican Condoleezza Rice commented on Obama's victory by lauding America as a country that continues to surprise… continues to renew itself … to beat all odds and expectations." America, according to Secretary Rice, has been through a long journey in terms of overcoming wounds and “making race not the factor in our lives."
Americans voted for Obama because they had faith in his political rhetoric and programs and not because of the color of his skin.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powel, one of the most prominent black Americans who served in the military and government for 40 years, emphasized this on CNN immediately after Obama had emerged victorious. President elect Obama, Powel said, did not put himself forward as an African American president. He put himself as an American, who happened to be black, who happened to be African American - and that ought to come after the title.
On the eve of the elections, I stressed this fact in an interview with BCC about the position of Arab-Americans. I said "Arab Americans are American citizens in the first place. And coming from a mixture of various ethnic and religious backgrounds, Kurdish, Coptic, Christian, Muslim, Assyrian, Jewish etc., which constitute the fabric of Arab culture, does enrich their belonging to the new country which they chose and which is already built on cultural, ethnic, racial, political and religious diversity. The Arab diversified cultural fabric might be very similar to the American diversity, but has one essential difference: the activation of the concept of citizenship, as a right and as a duty, where all races, religions and affiliations merge together, or even unite, in order to empower the interests of one nation for all.
Today, the American people reaffirm the fact that they are at the political helm of their country and that their political choice is not influenced by familial, racial or religious affiliations It is further bolstered by the candidates’ ability to put themselves forward as a future figure that is capable of pushing the nation forward.
Today, through millions of votes of by its citizens, America has declared that it is the first believer in the democracy it is trying to export and internationalize and that it is at the forefront of nations to practice it. This confounds all claims by the rest of the world that America's attempts and calls to establish democracies in countries governed by totalitarian regimes are false. It also unveils that there is nothing wrong with those attempts and calls and that the failure is deeply rooted in those regimes, which resist democratic change and freedom and remain historically stagnant forever under the rule of one man or one dynasty.