If nothing terribly dramatic happens in the next four days, then Martin Luther King Jr.'s great, famous dream is about to come true. "I have a dream," he said in that moving, sublime speech on August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
And this is what is likely to happen next Tuesday. Only a few months ago Barack Obama's candidacy was seen as impossible, hopeless: America would not change its skin and elect a black president. And lo, the American nation is suddenly ready to judge the candidate by his character. For two years he's been conducting the longest, most tortuous campaign in American history, and has not stumbled. Americans are mostly impressed by his judgment and cool demeanor. Two years without ranting and raving, diatribes and lashing out. He was showered with slanders and libel, but to no avail.
Obama does give hope to most Americans. And surveys conducted in dozens of countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East identify him as a man that the world holds dear. The world desperately needs America, a global leader, but for the past eight years all its weakness has been laid bare. The George Bush years in the White House will be stained with ignominy for all eternity.
As the Earth warms up, as glaciers melt and threaten to drown parts of it and as other parts become desert - the president of the only superpower has sabotaged every rescue initiative. When dark fanatics declared war on the West, he sent his soldiers to the wrong place - Iraq, abandoning the main front, Afghanistan. Like a problem child he entangled himself with lies at the beginning of the war, then sulked, wouldn't talk to the bad boys - Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Bush did Obama a favor by preceding him. Now Obama is the great black hope of humankind, after two terms of disappointment and a sense of betrayal. His candidacy could only grow out of such deep, frightening despair, while the candidacy of the "natural heir" - John McCain - became intolerable. Four or eight more years of Republican hegemony mean continuing the same policy.
Bush's America brought disaster to the world no less because of its economic conduct. Wall Street spread its viruses to developed and developing states. Thus the entire international community has lost an adult, responsible leadership and now looks up to Obama.
Only one state is still interested in McCain's services - Israel. Only Israel insists on continuing to live in a bubble. It is wrong, as usual. Bush was bad for the world and especially for us. America's ongoing wallowing in Iraq and its loss of deterrence power are bad for Israel, which isn't pulling out of anywhere. Israel is staying here, in the Middle East.
Bush has forgotten us and the Palestinians. He refused to advance the talks with Syria and ignored - like us - the pan-Arab peace initiative lying on the table since 2002. McCain will be another such friend, whose friendship ensures calamity. Nobody can say what kind of president Obama will be, but at least he has the benefit of the doubt. McCain, on the other hand, does not bring new hope. Not even dubious hope.
American Jews, Brooklyn Old Testament Evangelists, don't worry about us. Do us all a favor over there, don't vote for McCain. Let us deal with our critics in the Obama administration by ourselves.
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