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Columns : Opinions - Joye Ritchie Greene Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Obama Bahama Fever
By Joye Ritchie-Greene
Jun 7, 2008 - 10:10:47 PM

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In the past few weeks I have seen people wearing Obama “Yes We Can” t-shirts, bumper stickers with favourable slogans for Barack Obama and the best one yet is an ice cream flavour named in his honour – Obama Chocolate.

The Bahamas, along with the rest of the world, has definitely caught the Obama fever. There is a sense or a feeling in the air that something unusual, but spectacular, is about to happen and many people around the globe want to be onboard when it happens.

For the first time ever in the 232 year history of the United States of America, a black man has been nominated to run as leader of its country. And, I suppose because of the proximity of The Bahamas to the USA, we have always kept a keen eye on the politics of that nation.

But never before have I seen such an enthusiastic interest in a presidential race as this one. Almost anywhere you go these days you will hear some form of discussion about Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bill Clinton and John McCain.

Perhaps one may surmise that Bahamians like the emotional wave that politics brings or could it be that for the first time someone has the potential to lead a first world nation who looks like someone they know?

Many Bahamians who have schooled in the USA or lived there for extended periods of time would readily admit that the blacks in America are different from the blacks in The Bahamas. Even white and black Americans would admit to these differences.

The history of Miami and South Florida records very clearly how different Bahamians were from the black Americans who settled in that territory in that time. And these differences are still apparent to today. So what is it that draws so many Bahamians to this man Barack Obama?

The simplest response to this would be that he is a black man poised to rule the most powerful country in the world, and for this single reason alone, he has many “black countries” throughout the world supporting him.

While this may sound shallow and even racist, that is the reality. No matter how many eloquent reasons his foreign supporters may give, his ethnicity is the final and definitive reason for such overwhelming support.

Nation.Media.com reported that African nations like Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and others are all ecstatic about Obama’s presidential nomination because of his Kenyan roots. Merchandise bearing his name is quite visible and his face is becoming as recognizable as premier soccer players in many of those African countries.

There are people who have gone so far as to create catchy songs with Latin and Caribbean beats calling on people to recognize that “it is time for something different; it’s time for Obama.” Mexican-American Miguel Orozco in California has created a website, Amigos de Obama , that features a downloadable reggaeton tune in MP3 that can even be used as a mobile phone ring tone.

At the end of the day, many people have decided that they have had enough of the Clintons and the Bushes. The fact is that the same two families have run the White House since 1981 – the Bushes and the Clintons. George H. W. Bush served as Vice-President from 1981 – 1989; then as President (1989 – 1993). William (Bill) Clinton served at President (1993 – 2001); and George W. Bush served as President (2001 – Present).

If Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic Presidential Nomination and subsequently won the Presidential election, that country would have in effect had the same two families in the white house for over 30 years. That sounds like a dictatorship on a small Caribbean country or some nation on the continent of Africa.

Alas, the USA has decided to end this Bush/Clinton dynasty, but now it faces its greatest test ever. Is it ready to truly move into the 21st century and give a totally new man the job? Is it ready to give a black man the job?

The Bahamas and many throughout the world are pulling for the man who is living the dream of that little black boy living in Jamaica, Trinidad, France, Ethiopia, St. Kitts, or wherever. Yes, The Bahamas has caught the fever for Obama. It’s just too bad that these accolades and shouts of praise don’t translate into one single vote.

About the author: Joye Ritchie-Greene is an Educational Consultant, Writer and Martial Arts Instructor. She is the owner/operator of The Bahamas Martial Arts Academy; president of Time-Out Productions; and is also a columnist for the Freeport News. She has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Human Resources, resides in Freeport, Grand Bahama with her husband and enjoys playing tennis. Joye can be reached at joye_hel_ena@hotmail.com  

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