There is this TV show that has a slogan for its title, ‘America’s got Talent’. You might as well say America’s got people, all kinds of characters… the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. This mix makes the practice of its democracy exciting.
America’s democracy is turn-by-turn. This has been the case in the past decades and virtually over the centuries. It unfortunately occasionally degenerates into a situation of change of power between “good people” and “bad people”, thus polarising the citizens. After the good people have held power, the bad ones will struggle and take over, etc.
In the course of this process, Providence in its mercy threw up Obama as the first African American president. Obama identified a white man of humane nature, without any inclination to racism and made him his vice president.
Eventually, the Ugly emerged. What was intended to be a healthy competition between Democrats and Republicans once again became a class struggle which threw up an occupant of the Oval Office with the worst combination of unbridled racism and narcissism. (I stand to be corrected). He vowed to himself to upturn anything Obama, whether good or bad.
He thought he had it all wrapped up but didn’t reckon with tomorrow, which is today. Alas, he became the 10th president in US history of 45 presidents to date, who lost a reelection bid! Serves him right, many would say.
The seed Obama planted, germinated and is bearing fruit today. The man Biden, a most faithful breed, is quietly executing a revolution of no mean order. He started first by picking an African Asian American woman as his vice president, the first in American history. He followed up by making many appointments of African Americans, into key positions including that of Gen Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defence. I said Secretary of Defence! This could never happen in Trump’s America.
Several Nigerian Americans have equally been appointed and with several others elected to Congress, it promises to be a new era of US – Nigerian relations. This is revolutionary, a silent revolution.
Looking back, five centuries ago, black people were shipped as slaves to America. They passed through grievous dehumanisation for centuries. Martin Luther King Jr and many others laid down their lives for their emancipation, dignity and equality. To date they are still struggling but there is a silver lining in the sky.
This is a defining moment. A moment when those who were downtrodden yesterday are gradually being admitted into offices that were the preserve of those who consider America their patrimony. This is heart-warming. It is providential.
Joe Biden’s posture should be applauded as his actions speak of his faithfulness and determination to right centuries-old wrongs. As the second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy, who committed himself to humanitarian standards, Biden is bound to the same ethical code of action. It is not surprising that as a man of faith he intends to put God at the centre of his administration.
He has also signed an unprecedented 20 executive orders for the purpose of righting wrongs, including reversing the Muslims travel ban in a bid to make for inclusivity. This particular order may be open to criticism but it is justified on the basis of openness and doing away with stigmatisation. Afterall, the law and its agents are there to deal with any breach.
All men of goodwill should rise in acknowledgement of the silent revolution Joe Biden is prosecuting and encourage him. He is a typical example of a president who was prepared for the task. America needs more presidents like Joe Biden. He is only at the beginning of his tenure but judging from his body language and actions so far, it is expected that he will positively impact America and make much difference especially in race issues. Joined by other persons and organisations of goodwill, America will in future truly become home for all, where all races can live together in freedom, peace and harmony.
Ekpe Ita writes from Calabar in Nigeria