Joe Biden Presidency: Would there be light at the end of the tunnel?



Biden hugs Harris


Love it or hate it, America is not only a great nation but also an important country that the world cannot do without. So, an important issue like the American presidential election is a global concern to all and sundry. Events in the White House in the last 12 years reminded me of the novel I read in my undergraduate days more than three decades ago. The novel is titled “The Man” written in 1966 by American best-selling author and screenwriter, Mr. Irving Wallace. The novel fantasied about the emergence of Douglass Dilman as the first black president of the United States through an expected accident. Dilman was the president pro tempore of the senate from where the presidency devolved onto him. As President Dilman mounted the throne, he was enveloped by three burdens – his office, his race, and his private life. Dilman was committed to upholding his oath of office in the face of national and international crises. The black activists expected Dilman to dance to their tune while the white racists despised him and felt embarrassed to have a black man as the president of their nation. One of Dilman’s children was passing for a white. Dilman found himself alone in a deep crisis, as he couldn’t meet the expectations of the warring groups. The crisis climaxed with the unsuccessful assassination attempt on the  president by the black activists.

Dilman was finally impeached on false charges for firing the United States secretary of state.       Wallace’s fantasy four decades ago became a stack reality in 2008 when Barrack Obama emerged as the 44th president of America. He was the first African American, the first multiracial, and the first non-white president of the United States. He was reelected in 2012. Obama defeated his Republican opponents, John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, who are both whites.  President Obama worked hard to improve the lives of all Americans, irrespective of their race. He provided economic and educational opportunities to all Americans through improvement of health care coverage, and ensured that the criminal justice system was applied fairly to all citizens. He was, truly, the president of all Americans and improved the livelihood of the low-income earners. He tirelessly worked to correct the socio-economic and racial imbalance among Americans and, more often than not, the African Americans who are mostly down the ladder. Obama’s giant stride that directly affected the African American families was the restoration of economic security when 3.7 million private-sector jobs were created within 23 months. He signed the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, which spurred economic growth and investment, resulting in massive employment. According to the report, the Act included tax reduction and improvement in unemployment insurance took 1.4 million out of poverty with over 20 million African Americans benefiting.

Similarly, President Obama focused on the improvement of quality of education in low-performing schools where the children of low-income earners attend, particularly, the African Americans. Areas of Obama’s achievements with human face are many and diverse. However, his achievements could not have met the expectations of some African Americans. Some felt President Obama turned out to be very different from presidential candidate Obama who had stage-managed his campaign to resemble a kind of social movement. Obama’s campaign train created great expectations, especially with his quoted slogan “yes, we can, yes, we can, original sin, dark history, etc”.Obama as the president of America was expected to intervene in some alleged racial discrimination cases involving African Americans but he refused. One, particularly, disappointing case to many African Americans was that of Zimmerman, a Whiteman, and Martin, an African American.  Zimmerman, a security guard racially profiled Martin to 911 “this guy looks like he is up to no good, or drug or something”. Zimmerman followed Martin, a 17-year-old walking home and talking on his phone, confronted him, and shot him in the chest thereby killing him. When the case went to court, Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin.

That judgment crystallized the burden of African Americans that even in death Martin was vilified as a “thug” and Zimmerman portrayed as his “victim”. Obama addressed the nation on Zimmerman case “…I know this case elicited strong passion… , these passions may be running high, but we are a nation of laws and a jury has spoken”. The outrage and disappointment are better imagined. Despite Obama’s shortcomings, his achievements outweigh and earn him tremendous respect. These achievements, President Trump’s tumultuous tenure, and the unbeatable records of Democrats’  presidential candidate paved way for the election of Joe Biden as the 46th president of America.  Biden’s election thrilled millions of African Americans, Africans, and the progressives globally as the Biden administration is expected to steer away from the Trump era’s unilateralism. He had already made several appointments for African Americans including Nigerians and promoting gender equality. Biden promised to promote gender equality in his campaign, and living up to it, he elected the US’ first all-women senior communication team.

Women are occupying key offices from his vice president to several other important positions. He has chosen women to fill the existing gender gap in the White House.On January 20, 2021, the world keenly witnessed the marvelous debuting of the Biden presidency with high hope and expectation. Would there be light at the end of the tunnel? Yes, light is always there but how long will take us to the light depends on the speed we are moving and the length or distance to cover to reach the end. Africa and the rest of the world are anxiously waiting to see how President Biden will lead the world out of poverty, war, squalor as well as bring peace and human progress. With qualitative American foreign policy, these feats can be achieved. Time will tell.

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