This historic moment, in which Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, is exciting and joyful, but also a touching moment of farewell. For history's sake, we should devote a few quiet moments of thought to the one who lost the campaign.
For hundreds of years he was the epitome of a leader - influencing events and setting the tone. He had the money and called the shots, enacted legislation, overpowered nations and conquered countries. He imagined a world in which everyone was his subject and ready to serve him.
For hundreds of years he ruled unthreatened. He had slaves - people without freedom, to fulfill his needs, manufacture his products and carry out his menial work. For hundreds of years he felt comfortable. He kept women - denied of their freedom - to take care of his sexual and feeding needs, and to raise his offspring. He thought everything in our world was his. He thought his narrow horizons were ours.
His end was harbingered over the past 200 years by exceptional women, like the British Mary Wollstonecraft who wrote "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" in 1792, or the Americans Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who spearheaded the struggle to abolish slavery and the struggle for women's right to vote in the middle of the 19th century.
African-American leaders, both men and women, like Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, heralded his end over the past 200 years, shedding a light on his malicious character and demanding their freedom and lives.
One could argue of course that the long, continuous struggle against him has not been completed yet. After all, now more than ever, he is afraid. Afraid of losing control, of letting go. He wants it all, refusing to concede. It's hard to persuade him that he is passe. It's hard to accustom him to the thought that he is not the only, all-knowing author of our narrative. He is no longer the one moving the plot and forging its messages.
Indeed, he is still here, with us. He has not disappeared. He still makes his voice heard - a somewhat strident voice - in newspapers, on the op-ed pages, in news broadcasts and on political and academic podiums. When he can, he still tries to deride women, or blacks, or his critics, regardless of religion, color and gender. He still wants to stop the drift of change, doubt and independent thought that are attacking him and shaking his world. He is still holding most of humanity's power positions and economic resources. And yet, his grasp is feeble. His eyes are tired. He feels ridiculous. he knows his days are numbered.
This is it. The time has come. Some have called it "the end of history." Some announced the "fall of the American empire." Perhaps this is their way of trying to hide from the defendant the simple, beautiful truth - the era of the conservative white male is over.
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