Nearly four years ago, a week after the inauguration in an attic transformed into a classroom sat a group of students and a teacher under a dim light for the first time. The group was concocted of a coincidental mix. There were Africans, a Norwegian, a Serbian and three Americans, one being the teacher, seated at the table. President Obama had just stepped into the Oval Office in a place so far away from Scandinavia, yet this party, not quite in his honor, seemed to be right down the street in the nationís capital.
As it would become expected, the African men dominated the conversation. Their melodic monologues emphasized praise for the United States of America. They were confident the super power of the world, a place they imagined with its freedoms and opportunities, had taken a turn from what they identified as the worst and had chosen a path of hope and change. They believed this decision would bring mercy to their motherlands and all of the people in the world. They wanted Obama more than what he was volunteering to represent, more than an American seated across the table.
It was strange to hear her remonstrate. This American sister wasnít satisfied. She was proud white, obese lesbian who didnít find Obama to be left enough right down to his color, gender and pastimes. Her protests were met with disbelief, and her notions were nothing more than blasphemy for the foreigners only theoretically familiar with freedom of speech, with the right to choose and the power that comes with the exercise. The loud men from Africa, the quiet girl from Norway and the patient Serbian found it peculiar the other Americans seated round the table in the middle of the day that was already dark as night listened with respect, not fully understanding that is what an American can chose to do.
The conversation went on past the required hour full of questions and speculations about the future. Not unlike so many discussions about politics, there was aggression and an air of distaste. Nothing was solved and no one was swayed one way or the other despite the hope deeply founded in each word. Obama was the president of the United States of America, and it was beginning to affect the smallest corners of the world.
Now, four years later, would the Africans still smile with hope for a better tomorrow in the third world? What would they say about the future and the recent past of the great super power, a place they dream about, a place they believe would give them a better life? And the American woman who was allowed to exercise her choice to live in a country not her own, what would she have to stay about the incumbent and his challenger? Do her demands of the individual continue to trump the positionís responsibility to the masses? How would the unfamiliar, coincidental group analyze the 2012 defensive campaign so different from the offensive plays one term ago?
Today the vote is cast and the world will change. Today the United States of America will choose and some will move forward with hope and with confidence while others will find no comfort in failure and rejection. Conversations will unfold full of questions and speculations, yet they will not change the decision that empowers one to satisfy the demands of one great nation and the people in this world that believes it is the United States of Americaís duty to take care of all people through democracy.