Obama's victory, hope for America and inspiration for Indonesia

The Jakarta Post
06 November 2008

This is the original version of the opinion article in today's The Jakarta Post titled 'Obama win an inspiration'

by Wimar Witoelar

There is much that evokes emotions about Barack Obama, a quality that we last saw in  John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was a junior Senator from Massachusetts when he was elected in 1960 just as Obama is one from Illinois.  Both did not  have much experience but both exuded leadership. Both were admired by a world extending far beyond  the borders of the United States. American politics comes with a generous dose of romance. Indonesians respond to Obama as no one did for McCain. Text messages jangled mobile phones in Indonesia and congratulatory messages filled email in all languages. The live coverage of the vote count on November 5,2008  was watched by many in Jakarta and many rejoiced when Barack Obama passed the 270 electoral vote mark, which sealed his place at the center of the world. Not everybody knew what his programs are but mist sensed a positive area around him.
To start with, like no other US President since Franklin D, Roosevelt, Obama is a president for all America. He has stepped away from  partisanship and appealed to all parts of the country regardless of race, region, and religion. His  message of inclusion is the thread of his campaign, both in the Democratic Party and across the political divide. By his discipline he avoided the looming threat of the culture war which has haunted America since Richard M. Nixon used it to energize the Republican Party.
As a person Obama comes with an incredible background. We all know how he spent four years of his childhood in Indonesia, His friends at school in Jakarta and his neighborhood will give testimony to the fun he had playing and learning life at his mother's side. When he went back to the United States he benefited from the care of his grandmother who sadly left him the day before the elections. His half-sister Maya Ng share their Indonesian background as the only survivors of this family of ordinary people.
But we will not make the mistake of claiming him for Indonesia. We are happy to have had some relevance in the development of  Barack Obama. It will be our collective pride to see him become an outstanding president of America and make it a better country, because what is good for America is good for the rest of the world.
The difference between Obama and most presidents of the United States is that he does not build on fear but on hope. He is the antidote to George W. Bush of the "you are either for us or against us" mindset, promising instead dialogue and a chance at understanding even the nation's worst enemies, keeping force as the weapon of last resort. Sensing this the world breathes a sign of relief. We will not be forced into accepting unilateral initiatives when Obama promises multilateral action whenever possible.
The sense of oppression does not exist only in the mind of America's adversaries in the world but also in parts of the American population who have seen the space of their civil liberties consistently compressed in the name of capitalism and national security.
Maybe that is why there was so much joy in the celebration at Grant Park in Chicago, the scene of a polarized country in 1968 over the unpleasantness of the Vietnam War. The Iraq war had the same polarizing effect. And ordinary people started to feel they were held hostage of an alien kind of authority.
The scenes of celebration in the the park are reminiscent of the end of a sci-fi movie where people of the earth rejoice over defeating the aliens
The true genius of America is that it can change by democratic consensus. When it becomes clear that the people want change, they select the candidate of change by a landslide. With the magic wand of democracy, wars are minimized in glamour  and the nation now concentrates on two tasks: economic recovery and improving the standing of the USA based on peace and prosperity.
These two goals are good for any country. When Indonesia can make its own democratic choice in that direction next year, we will have a sympathetic supporter in a new USA, led by a President who understands our hopes by having  breathed them directly.

Photos from Obama celebration in Jakarta

More new articles:

MSNBC: Obama's Former School Cheers His Win

"It's unbelievable," said Wimar Witoeler, a political commentator and former presidential spokesman. "It shows how America can be an engine of inspiration and change." Indonesia is the world's most populist Muslim country, and the image of America took a real battering here during the Bush years. "Now I see America is still a good country," Wimar told me. "A country you can trust, a country that can change within itself."

detikNews: Pendukung Obama Indonesia Dugem Rayakan Kemenangan

Kemenangan Barack Obama sebagai Presiden Amerika Serikat (AS) dirayakan di berbagai tempat. Di Indonesia, para pendukung Obama menggelar perayaan dengan konser musik. "Obama bisa kembalikan citra Amerika Serikat di mata dunia, Obama itu orang hebat bisa jadi contoh bagi indonesia," kata Wimar.

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  1. From Look it 2 on 06 November 2008 14:14:35 WIB
    woow, this is an example how democratic can be implementted in the Superpower country. The campaign took place for several months with a lot of issues, but it was less than a day to decide the new president for USA to unite the blue & the red and no more fighting, no more jealous, no race discrimination & anyone can be Mr President of we are waiting for his decisions to improve the world economic crisis and to lead the peaceful of all nations. Good luck & success Mr President Obama! God bless America!
    However, this will be a good example for the election in Indonesia next year! God bless Indonesia too!
  2. From rahadian p. paramita on 06 November 2008 14:20:42 WIB
    This is a prove of how democracy works well as peoples power...
  3. From mansur on 06 November 2008 14:31:10 WIB

    This is victory for pluralisme and democracy

  4. From Faradila Prameshwari on 06 November 2008 14:59:29 WIB
    I totally agree with your opinion. Most of my friends asked me, why I was so happy about Obama winning, because he's came from Indonesia? But actually it's not the point, my friends. And they said, the USA election has no effect for us. Oh, you must be kidding me. Because like what you said what's happened in USA has affect for the rest of the world, including Indonesia, our country. That's why. Beside that, I like him because he has a great goal. Change! That's what I really want to hear, although I'm not American, and because I believe in him.
    Let's hope together for a better change and I hope people Indonesia (me also) can choose the best leader for our country, yeah we can :)

    Btw you really had a great spirit as I see. The young generation should follow your spirit :)
  5. From Dhani Aristyawan on 06 November 2008 15:10:00 WIB
    It's time for America to live peacefully and using dialog instead of violence, wll I guess I hope it works that way in future
  6. From Chiphie on 06 November 2008 15:55:33 WIB
    Seluruh dunia seperti bergembira melihat kemenangan Obama, termasuk Indonesia. Sepertinya orang seneng liat Bush ataupun dari Partai Republik tidak lagi menjadi presiden, karena tidak mau penerus dari Republik hanya akan meneruskan kebijakan yang nyaris-nyaris mirip dengan pendahulunya, yang katanya bikin rakyatnya sengsara, mulai dari mengirim tentara ke perang yang ga jelas ataupun dibuat-buat (masa Amerika yang katanya adi daya dan punya semua alat canggih bisa menemukan dan menggantung Saddam Husein tapi salah mengindikasikan nuklir ada di IRan yang ternyata ga pernah ada sampai saat ini ?), sehingga para tentara itu harus berpisah dengan anak dan istri ataupun dengan ibu dan bapaknya, dan juga krisis ekonomi yang berimbas ke berbagai negara lain dan juga masalah-masalah lain yang timbul selama pemerintahan Bush.

    Seluruh dunia sekarng menaruh harapan besar kepada Obama yang telah membuat sejarah baru, dimana Amerika tidak lagi memikirkan ras, suku maupuan agama dan hanya berharap pada perubahan.

    Melihat kegembiraan rakyat AMerika di CNN yang menayangkan hampir sehari semalam pesta demokrasi tersebut, saya berpikir, kapan kita bisa merasakan kegembiraan yang sama, dimana :
    1. kita bisa memilih presiden yang bisa melakukan perubahan total di negara ini sehingga rakyat tidak lagi menderita dan sejahtera dan negara ini bebas dari korupsi ?
    2. Kita bisa merasakan uang pajak yang dipotong dari hasil keringat kita terwujud dalam bentuk transportasi umum yang jauh yang lebih bagus dan juga jalan-jalan yang tidak berlubang ?
    3. Kita bisa merasakan pelayanan yang lebih baik di instansi pemerintah yang sekarang lebih banyak punglinya
    4. kita bisa merasa bangga dengan negara kita sendiri ?


    Saat ini sepertinya hanya bisa mimpi. oleh karena itu melihat kemenangan Obama rasanya juga seperti bermimpi..kapan kita bisa seperti itu ?

    Mari kita sama-sama berdoa, semoga Obama bisa mengabulkan harapan semua pihak, terutama penduduk Amerika yang menginginkan perubahan.
    Sementara untuk Indonesia ? MAri kita sama-sama berdoa untuk satu keajaiban ...
  7. From thea on 06 November 2008 21:06:15 WIB
    an important lesson-learned, democracy indeed gives equal opportunity to all people regardless their races, gender or any kind of background. in obama case, it really destroys institutionalized racism in USA. viva obama
  8. From chandra on 06 November 2008 22:55:10 WIB
    Is it for real? I feel like I am living in a fairy tale planet. Finally the world celebrate the first Global President. America return home to it's sense, I hope.
  9. From Fahmi Sutan Alatas on 07 November 2008 09:14:05 WIB
    Saya juga senang Obama terpilih. Mudah mudahan Amerika jadi lebih bersahabat dengan dunia. Dan mudah-mudahan perubahan itu berdampak ke Indonesia juga. Yah disini wong Indonesia teruslah berjuang untuk berubah. Tapi itu butuh tenaga pikiran dan pengorbanan. Perubahan butuh prasyarat. Jadi perubahan bukan keajaiban. Perubahan itu hasil dari suatu sikap yang konsisten. Perubahan bagi Indonesia adalah dependent variable dan kita bangsa Indonesia independent variable nya. Jadi kalo kita nggak baik-baik ya nggak berubah lah. Politik kita masih buruk karena banyak orang buruk didalamnya. Komunitas seperti pak Wimar ini penting untuk edukasi positif ke arah perubahan yang lebih baik.

  10. From yunie jusri djalaluddin on 07 November 2008 14:55:07 WIB
    Ketika kata-kata keluar dari nurani maka dunia pun terkesima,Ketika hati nurani yg memilih, ragawinya tidak lagi dipandang. Nurani memang hanya bisa disentuh dgn nurani. Jadi klo Obama yang hanya 4 tahunan tinggal di nusantara sempat membuat warga dunia terkesima apalagi yang tinggal lebih lama yaaaa.... Semoga pemimpin Indonesia kedepan lahir dari nurani yg bening jadi dunia pun bisa terKESIMA lagi.
  11. From Mundhori on 10 November 2008 09:41:03 WIB
    Secercah harapan bagi Indonesia pasca kemenangan Obama hanyalah agar krisis ekonomi AS sendiri segera pulih, yg dampaknya mampu mempengaruhi pulihnya perekonomian global, termasuk Indonesia Cita cita selebihnya agar Indonesia (unsure pemimpin negara) bersiap diri menyusun kembali semua institusi, regulasi, dan political will untuk menuju Indonesia mandiri, di segala bidang, politik,ekonomi, social, budaya, hokum dll pengaruh, agar tidak selalu kena imbas pengaruh global.
  12. From vici on 10 November 2008 16:39:18 WIB
    banyak orang menaruh harapan pada Obama. saya pribadi biasa aja tuh. Siapapun Presidennya, US Shadow Goverment sama saja (mungkin banyak orang yg percaya dan tidak percaya), hanya pendekatannya saja yang berbeda. Faktanya Obama telah memilih seorang anak imigran Israel (emmanuel) untuk menjadi kepala staf Gedung Putih, dan 78% warga Yahudi Amrik memilih Obama.. wajah konflik Israel-Palestina belum akan berubah.

    Obama pernah berkata dalam suatu kesempatan, “Saya berjanji kepada Anda bahwa saya akan melakukan apapun yang saya bisa dalam kapasitas apapun untuk tidak hanya menjamin kemanan Israel tapi juga menjamin bahwa rakyat Israel bisa maju dan makmur dan mewujudkan banyak mimpi yang dibuat 60 tahun lalu,”
  13. From lyzza Andayanie on 21 November 2008 22:00:49 WIB
    ketika mendengar Mr.obama menang,saya berfikir bahwa dia lah penyelamat America,dia yang bisa membuat Amerika tersenyum kembali setelah beberapa saat terjadi peperangan antara America dan Irak.Saya hanya bisa berdoa agar America bisa menjadi negara adikuasa dan negara superpower yang bisa menjadi contoh bagi negara lain.
  14. From Anne on 22 November 2008 23:42:01 WIB
    i thought USA wasn`t ready for change.. but Obama prove to us that USA is ready for change.
  15. From dhudik on 29 January 2009 09:29:51 WIB
    i likeobama

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