Saturday, November 08, 2008

No, we can't!

Obama's response to questions about Ahmedinejad's congratulatory letter on Awani Global really put a damper on my euphoric state over his victory.
Israeli's relevance to the US? Hmm ...
Obama: A nuclear-armed Iran would be 'unacceptable'
Nov. 7, 2008 Staff, THE JERUSALEM POST
In his first press conference since securing the United States presidency on Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama said Friday that a nuclear-armed Iran would be "unacceptable."
Asked whether he responded to the letter of congratulation from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - the first instance of an Iranian leader congratulating an American president-elect since the Islamic Revolution which brought the ayatollahs to power in 1979 - Obama said "I am aware that the letter was sent," adding that so soon after the election there had been no time to "review the letter and respond as appropriate."
Obama also said that Iran's support of terror groups "must cease," and that the US must mount "an international effort to keep [Iran's acquiring nuclear weapons] from happening."
His opening speech at the conference implied that the global economic crisis would be one of the first matters to be tackled after his inauguration on January 20, 2009.
Regarding both the Iranian issue and the economy, Obama reminded reporters that the US "can only have one president at a time," and that US President George W. Bush's administration was still the US government until his inauguration.
Regarding Iran, Obama said "I want to be very careful that we are sending the right signals to the world as a whole that I am not the president and I won't be until January 20th," and avoided outlining a policy whilst Bush remains in power.
Asked what would be his current response to the Bush administration's handling of the economy, Obama said "the critical tone that has to be struck by all of us right now is the American people need help, the economy needs help, and now is a good time to set politics aside for a while and think practically what would actually work to help."
He said the middle class would be the demographic most in need of help, saying 95 percent of Americans would benefit from his economic agenda.
Obama said he and his wife Michelle were "graciously" invited by Bush and his wife Laura to visit the White House.
Asked about consulting with former US presidents, Obama said he met with all former presidents "who are living," including Republican George Bush, father of the current president and the man who presided over Operation Desert Storm in Iraq in the early 1990s.
Obama said he also read the biographies of former presidents and cited former US president Abraham Linclon as "an extraordinary inspiration."
Finally, a reporter asked what breed of dog the Obamas will bring to the White House, a question that seems to be high on the mind of Americans, according to Obama. He said the family considered taking a dog from a shelter, but eventually decided against taking a dog that would be "a mutt like me," referring to his mixed Caucasian and African lineage.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes, we can!

Finally, I'm compelled to write about a historic occasion after a two month hiatus.
(Never mind the Hari Raya prayers at the Shah Alam mosque, the Sultan's and MB's open houses; they are now a distant memory. But wait ... I can still recall the irate "taxpayer" (I presume) at the Istana who objected to the rakyat entering through the side gate, and not the main gate, and the attractive young woman in her tube dress that just about covered her 'endowments'. I certainly hope that Khalid Ibrahim is still pursuing his vision of a zero-poverty state based on the Caliphate Economic Model that he shared with me two Hari Rayas ago at Anwar Ibrahim's house in Bukit Damansara. And I pray that he values ALL his supporters, including the single mother of two endearing boys, a 12 year old and an infant, who was willing to pay RM80 for cab fare to and from Taman Tun Razak to attend his 'rumah terbuka').
Well, I guess I'm just another sucker for emotional appeals in political campaign speeches but I had to wipe tears from the corner of my eyes upon hearing both McCain's concession and Obama's victory speeches.
(With the amount of campaign money raised and media coverage on the Republican and Democratic candidates, I have completely forgotten that I had rooted for Ralph Nader, the real McCoy and the genuine article, in 2004. Tell me all about 'agenda setting function' of the media.)
Although I had my share of flak for politicians, I do admire their magnanimity and grace in the face of defeat as well as their astuteness in encapsulating their thoughts while endearing themselves to their constituencies at very such notice.
I had managed to sneak away to follow the US presidential election results at the Renaissance earlier today. It was indeed a poignant moment - not just for the African Americans, but for all US, and perhaps global, citizens.
Throughout his speech, I pictured a son of a white American woman from the counter-cultural generation who had an eclectic background. Never would anyone imagine that he will be the 44th commander-in-chief of the US of A.
What remain etched in my mind, though, was his call for American patriotism to forge unity and reconciliation. Let's hope he'll able to live up to his campaign promises before the various lobbyists, neo-cons or neo-libs close in on him.
Congratulations, Mr Prez-elect!