No. The Americans?a substantial number?may be ready to accept Barack Obama, but the world cannot accept him. He introduces far too many uncertainties into a world already riddled with uncertainties.
The world can accept the Anglo-Saxons, Republicans or Democrats. We know their outlook and ideology, as also their unspoken motivations. But we do not know what a Hispanic will do. Or a black. They create intolerable uncertainties. Obama? He is the most unpredictable man ever to have aspired for the American Presidency.
It is true, one day the world will have to accept a Hispanic or a black as President of the United States. Or a mix?like Obama. Why? Because of the compulsions of demography.
America is a country of immigrants, ?an asylum of all nations? in the words of Emerson. They have not ceased to pour in. About a million are being added each year. It is this continuing immigration., which will re-shape America and its destiny in the future. Perhaps the election of Obama could have changed America'sdestiny. But will he be elected? I have serious doubts. America is not ready for such revolutionary leaps. Winning the primary of the Democratic Party is different from winning a Presidential election. And only a few years ago, a Commission appointed by President Clinton said that there was hardly any change in the attitude of the whites towards the blacks. Hillary seems to believe so. And Obama himself admits that ?race is still a factor in our society?, although, he added, it may not be the determining factor. In any case, the voters are totally committed one way or the other. ?Demography is the king? says one commentator.
Be that as it may, the world is not ready for an America ruled by a man of Obama'sbackground. It is his identity or the lack of it, which is the most crucial factor in this election.
And yet, America was conceived as a ?melting pot? by Emerson. He expected a true American to come out of this melting pot. But it never happened. The immigrant maintained their separate identities. Which is why America had to keep a watch on the German-Americans during the Second World War!
Today the melting pot is out and multi-culturalism is in. And America remains a vast medley of ethnicities, each wanting to keep its identity in tact. Obama has no identity. Hence the fears.
In the US Census of the 1950?s, America was 89 per cent white and 10 per cent black. Other races and colours hardly mattered then. Now Latinos (Hispanics), who are considered ?inferior? to the Angle-Saxons, account for about 15 per cent. They overtook the blacks (12 per cent) a year or two ago. In another fifty years or so, the Latinos (with little of the democratic traditions of the Anglo-Saxons will have a 25 per cent share of the population. If the Asians and blacks are added to the Hispanics, they will constitute about 40-45 per cent. This is when the course of American history can change. The hold of the Anglo-Saxons can begin to wane. But this process can begin even earlier. How? Through a process of nibbling.
America has somewhat schizophrenic attitude to the immigrants. Most of the polls show that two-thirds of the population will like to reduce immigration. But America has become highly dependent for qualified workers on the developing countries, if only to maintain its technological lead in the world . Foreign trained Ph. Ds account for 40 per cent of the scientists employed in the R &D departments of computer, electronics, chemical and pharmaceutical companies.
The US graduate programmes which are among the best in the world attract the best students from all over the world to do their Ph. Ds in America. About 70 per cent of them stay back in the USA. In this way, America has been able to replenish its science pool. The point I want to make is this: the future of America depends on migration. And immigration has already created three Americas?white, black and colored. And among the blacks are the ?Black Moslems??an aggressive group.
About 147 out of America's271 metro areas are at least 80 per cent white. In these areas, ?foreign? immigrants are seldom allowed in these days. Only whites from predominantly non-white areas migrate to these regions. In the other non-white America, we have the Silicon Valley, where the whites are a minority! There is Detroit, which boasts of being the Arab capital of America. Miami is home to about 150 nationalities.
Today bilingualism (a la Canada) has become an accepted norm. The ?natives? (whites) tolerate these tendencies. Take Miami, for example. Its official language is Spanish, not English. Even the form of administration is alien to American ways.
Yet another example: the Mexican-Americans. They can vote in the USA and back home in Mexico. They can also hold two passports.
Today, migration is encouraged by developing countries. And developed countries welcome them because of their declining population. Where this is leading to, one cannot say at present.
Who comes to power in America has been a matter of immense interest to the world. But so long it was an Anglo-Saxon or Irish, we knew that he would remain committed to the beliefs and values of the Anglo-Saxons. We cannot take these for granted if other people come to power. They may well have their own agenda.