In a little over a week America will choose the new “leader of the free world” for the next four years. I remember four years ago when our country was just yearning for something new and different. Hope was a reoccurring theme in Obama’s first campaign, I just hope the hope hasn’t dwindled. We realized that the eight years prior brought us instability in the world and economic policies that did not help anyone who really needed them. I will not forget the night we elected the President Obama. I was sitting alone in Lincoln, Nebraska at my house on Claremont Street. I remember watching the acceptance speech on CNN, and as I sat there I could not help to tear up a little bit. What a moment! I was witnessing history in the making, and for once in a long time I had that overwhelming pride of nationalism that had been lacking the past eight years.
So here we are again, another election, another year. This time I am not sitting in the comfort of the United States but rather the confinements of tin roofed hotbox of a house in Benin, Africa. But, I am not complaining because I chose to be where I am, and I can say to some respect it comes from the nationalism that was revived in me four years ago. I know that not all you reading my blog are huge fans of Mr. President Barack Obama, and I am not here to change your minds. In fact, it won’t really matter because most of you are reading this from Nebraska where we are only giving five electoral votes to the process, and we all know that they will most likely be red. (*Quick fact: Nebraska is one of the only two states in the Union that can split their electoral votes. The other is Maine. In 2008 the intelligent voters of Omaha helped Obama get one electoral vote out of Nebraska in the process.) Hopefully, we will see this again, but Romney is definitely not McCain. So all you Omaha folks get out and vote!
What I intend to do with this blog is not to change the mind of voters in America but to note the overwhelming support our current President has overseas. And being the “leader of the free world”, isn’t this an important attribute to have? Before leaving the continental U.S.A., I had an idea of the popularity of Mr. Obama elsewhere in the world, but was completely unaware to the extent. As you all are aware at this point Benin is a tiny country in W. Africa with a population of roughly nine million. It is about the same size of the state of Pennsylvania, and if Benin were Pennsylvania Mr. Obama would undoubtedly pick up 20 electoral votes. You see, Obama is adored here in Benin. Whether it be the kids walking around in Obama apparel (t-shirts, hats, pants, even socks), or the considerable amount of consumer goods that are named after our 44th president, President Obama is an icon here in Benin, and around the rest of Africa as well. Obviously, this is probably not a shocker to most of you. He is the first African American president of the United States.
For me the reasons to reelect President Obama have nothing to do with his race, but rather his principles and actions in office the previous four years. National security is sound, he has not gotten us into any unwarranted wars, the economy is rebounding (slowly but surely), we are gaining respect with the rest of the world once again, he is an honest man (as honest as any politician can be), and he brews his own beer. There is a reason that there are soaps and beers in Benin bearing the name “Obama”. In many cases the people of Benin know more about President Obama than their own President Yayi Boni. It is a remarkable thing to see support galvanized all the way over here in this tiny West African country; I hope that Americans are doing the same.