I hope. And I hope he will not fall, even for a moment, for the temptation to repeat the exploits of George W. Bush. After all, Obama had the dignity to vote against the Iraq war, while the Democratic and Republican parties were applauding the announcement of this carnage.
In his campaign, the word most often repeated in his speeches was leadership. In his administration, will he continue to believe that his country has been chosen to save the world, a toxic idea that he shares with almost all his colleagues? Will he insist on the United States’ global leadership and its messianic mission to take command?
I hope the current crisis, which is shaking the imperial foundations, will serve at least to give the new administration a bath of realism and humility.
Will Obama accept that racism is normal when it is used against the countries that his country invades? Isn’t it racism to count the deaths of invaders in Iraq, one by one, and arrogantly ignore the many dead among the invaded population? Isn’t this world racist, where there are first-, second-, and third-class citizens, and the first-. second-, and third-class dead?
Obama’s victory was universally hailed as a battle won against racism. I hope he will assume, in his acts of government, this great responsibility.
Will the Obama government confirm, once again, that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are two names of the same party?
I hope the desire for change, which these elections have established, will be more than a promise and more than a hope. I hope the new government has the courage to break with the tradition of the one and only party, disguised as two parties which at the moment of truth do more or less the same thing while simulating a fight.
Will Obama fulfill his promise to shut down the evil Guantánamo prison?
I hope, and I hope he will end the evil blockade of Cuba.
Will Obama continue to believe that it is great to have a wall that prevents Mexicans from crossing the border, while money moves without anyone asking for its passport?
During the election campaign, Obama never honestly confronted the subject of immigration. I hope, now that he is no longer in danger of scaring voters away, he can and wants to break down this wall, much longer and more embarrassing than the Berlin Wall, and all the walls that violate people’s right to free movement.
I’m afraid so, but I hope not.
Will Obama sign and comply with the Kyoto Protocol, or will he continue to give the privilege of impunity to the nation that is poisoning the planet the most? Will he govern for cars or for people? Can he change the murderous course of the lifestyle of the few who are risking the fate of all?
I’m afraid not, but I hope so.
Will Obama, the first black president in the history of the United States, realize the dream of Martin Luther King or the nightmare of Condoleezza Rice?
The White House, which is now his house, was built by black slaves. I hope he won’t forget it, ever.
Eduardo Galeano, a Uruguayan writer, is the author of Open Veins of Latin America and Days and Nights of Love and War among many other books and articles. The original essay “Ojalá” appeared in Página/12 on 6 November 2008. Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at] gmail.com).