As I was growing up,the perception that I had about USA was of a country that is at the best in most of the fields, where life is much better and the most innovative work happens. Then 9/11 happened. I still remember that Dad called from office telling about the twin towers crashing after planes hit them. And I - then a mere Std. 5 student was not shocked, more fascinated about what happened, how the best USA could be hit. I think I became a more passionate enemy of Osama than many of my age in USA would have been.
Since then USA hasn’t been the same. It is known only for unnecessary aggression in Iraq, a place where amazing number of people fail in Math, drop out of college, get into drugs, its careless attitude towards climate change, its failing heritage brands like Ford and Motorola, and for the last year it is in news for causing the credit crisis. You see USA had become the big guy who has lost his mind, and after living greatly is falling out piece-by-piece. This belief was reinforced when I learnt that my USA college applications were unsuccessful because the country is cutting down on funds for outsiders and spending it on what?? Fighting senseless wars.
In midst of all this came the presidential elections. Now, I must speak the truth in my own blog. I was rooting for Hillary first because of the charisma of Bill Clinton and because I read that she would be more favorable for India. But, I often doubted my favor. Barack Obama was just such a magic. A self-made man, who studied in the best colleges, worked hard and had the slogan “Change we can believe in.” God, I love those words. I often went to sleep thinking how can I support Hillary over Barack. And by the time Hillary lost, I was happy.
I haven’t heard anything significant India specific from Obama apart from his tough comments on Pakistan. But still I am a fan of this man. I had done a project in Class 11 on Martin Luther King and had read a lot about how Blacks were discriminated in the States. So when Barack won and I read articles like the one Shobaa De wrote today in Deccan Chronicle describing how teary-eyed blacks listened to Obama’s victory speech, it touched me. I know Obama is the president of USA and his concerns will be primarily of his own country. But I am sure a leader like him will inspire the world and lead it into newer brighter areas. I say so because I admire Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat” and one thing that he focuses on in his book is the dismal health care system in USA and here is a leader who voices the same concerns. That is a real agenda.
USA is not out of the pits. It has leaders like Sarah Palin whose motto was “Drill Baby Drill”. I read a nice word for it by a Columbia professor – “anti intellectualism” – the rejection of everything sane and scientific. And I am still depressed that I wasn’t able to fulfill my dream – study in MIT among the world’s best and change the world. But with Obama, I am sure USA will become a better, friendlier and a smarter country.
Just looking for a buyable Obama T-Shirt now.