Saturday, August 30, 2008

Obama phenomena

Shortly after I first arrived in Brazil, Obama's snapshot was on the cover of some of the Newstand periodicals, foreign and domestic. The phenom was in our midst, south of the Equator.. Nine days into my stay, I caught the flu and watched a bunch of Brazilian TV, including the first several days of the Olympics.

As you may already know I am not a regular consumer of television. I do find it stimulating to check into TV in foreign places I visit. Especially, when the news is international or specifically American in theme. There is often an additional subtext that is added or missing, depending upon who is reporting and what that nation's attitude is toward US policy. In addition, almost everyone now knows that services such as CNN, offer different feeds for different markets. Unfortunately, the USA does not always receive the most comprehensive or critical "breaking news"

Having engendered many thoughts regarding the racial landscape here in Bahia, I was curious to see what was reported here relative to the Obama phenomena. I also wanted to check my sense of the situation away from the hyper media focus that often scrutinizes fly turds with too much technology and graphics. I saw a bit of printed matter about Barack, but was able to be not privy to the TV coverage. I can tell that many countries around the world have already held a defacto election and Obama wins hands down. Curious how quickly they decided this election, and how reticent we are as a nation to commit to this young freshman senator of color. I was recently informed that the last national census in Brazil had a low count of Black Brazilians. The translation went, more or less, "Depending on your tonality and your politics-you embrace the implication inherent in your skin". A truly different stroke. I tried to counter with the old timey American theory of "one drop of black blood....." How many ways can we be colored?

All of this came into focus as the convention approached. I reflected on how loudly my mother would be cheering for Obama, were she here now. I pondered my dad's reaction to this chain of events relative to the trajectory of his life, growing up in a segregated America and now witnessing the nomination of a black man for president. I looked forward to that discussion.

I found that I could not put up with the pre-game show; as appropriate and magnificent as they most likely were. The remove of another country and culture, made the hyper American media saturation seem disingenuous. Thus, I missed the "Ted" moment, read the Jimmy Carter speech and thoroughly didn't miss the Clintons; the ovation, the elevator gaffe, etc.

I did sit up with Lauri listening to a live stream on a computer with a bad connection for several hours to the acceptance speeches and statements of Michelle and Barack. Inwardly and outwardly I cried hot tears of possibility at this historic moment. May he live up to the dream of the preacher, King, who he sited without coloring the image and be named for tagging the race game.

Here we go. My eldest neice, Juliana Rowen-Bartonwill have an opportunity to vote in her first Federal election this November. What better way for her to begin her life as a young adult in 21st century America.

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