Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Today is an historic day, where the world basks in the energy from the people of the planet's most powerful nation instigating change. Dubstep DJ, Baltimore resident and long time election enthusiast, Joe Nice relays his reaction to an amazing night in American politics.
Blackdown: So Joe let's start at the top, did you vote in the US 2008 election and who did you vote for, or is that a silly question?
Joe Nice: Not a silly question at all…..I voted in this election and my choice for president was Barack Obama.
Blackdown: What was it about Obama that you think made them the man for the job?
Joe Nice: Obama was speaking to me. His politics were in line with what I was looking for in a presidential candidate. Obama’s candidacy was based on change. For years, the political scene in Washington, DC has been the same thing over and over again. Bi-partisan backstabbing, party-line rhetoric and wasted time. I was looking for change. America was looking for change…a change from the status quo and a new direction for the country.
Blackdown: It's seemed like a very unique election, with so much engagement and involvement from the US electorate: what's made it different for you?
Joe Nice: This election has been different for a few reasons:
1. This is the first presidential candidate I’ve ever believed in. I wasn’t alive when Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy were around in the mid-to-late 60’s, but I’ve read enough history books and seen enough to know what each of them meant to America. When I hear and see Obama, it’s a mixture of the natural charismatic leadership of MLK combined with the hopes, dreams and aspirations that JFK wanted for America. Obama is a leader for our generation. I hope and pray that he doesn’t suffer the same fate as MLK and JFK.
2. The marketing of the Obama campaign. When was the last time you saw people wearing t shirts with the image of a presidential nominee on the front? Obama reached out to voters (new and old) where we are. Myspace. Facebook. Emails. His campaign has changed politics…..Obama has changed politics. He’s ended the mudslinging that’s taken place in years past. He’s raised the standards of politics by being honorable and truthful. Future elections will follow suit.
3. I felt like my vote really mattered. This isn’t like in years past…where you go to the polls and you feel the inevitable will take place. This election was different. I care about who wins….
4. The historical implications of this election. Long before Obama received the democratic nomination, he had to win the democratic primary…his opponent, Hillary Clinton….meaning you would have had either a woman or a black man as your democratic nominee for president. That’s never happened before. Additionally, Sarah Palin (provided a GOP win) would have been the first female VP.
5. The odds of anyone defeating Hillary Clinton. This can’t be overlooked. She’s a former first lady and currently a U.S. senator. Her husband, former governor of Arkansas and a former two-term president of the United States. The name “Clinton” in politics is a brand….a powerful brand…..not that much different than ‘Kennedy’. Americans know who they are and what that name represents. Obama vs Team Clinton is David v Goliath. David won. Obama won. One term senators from Illinois aren’t supposed to become president 4 years later. The odds of this are astronomical….but Obama said it best – “YES WE CAN”.
6. There’s never been an election that’s been so demographically different between the two candidates. You have a younger man running against, for all intents and purposes, a senior citizen. You have a black man versus a white man. You have a Harvard-educated lawyer against a career military soldier. The candidates are completely opposite…and that’s the reason this election is so polarizing – and so emotional. For every elated Obama supporter, there’s a dejected McCain follower.
Blackdown: In your lifetime, did you ever think you'd see a black President?
Joe Nice: Never.
Blackdown: As a black American, what does a black President mean to you?
Joe Nice: Martin – for me…this changes everything. A black president is a source of pride….for more than just black Americans or black people in America. His victory has been felt worldwide. The status quo has always been in place and there’s been a feeling of a glass ceiling for black people in the political arena. Sure…we can be congressmen, senators and members of the House of Representatives, but president is something that seemed out of reach…..every president before Obama has been a white male. No reason to think things will change, but Obama’s win – this changes everything. There will be more black people in higher political positions of power. 48 hours ago, I never thought there would be a black president. Now…I honestly believe there will be a black VP in my lifetime. Same for a black Speaker of the House. The glass has been broken….and this is more than just for black people. This is for all ethnicities. There’s every reason for a person from Hispanic descent (for example) to become president. It can happen. Obama’s win is also for women. I also believe there will be a female president in my lifetime. Look - there are more than a few people overseas that I speak to on a frequent basis and each of them are happy for the Obama victory. Obama has spoken about change and his victory proves it. The ultimate sign of change is having a black man as the “leader of the free world”. Having a black president – that’s progress.
As a side note….when it’s all said and done, you’ll see landmarks named after Obama. His win – it’s that historic.
I’d send my kids (when I have them) to Obama Middle School.
I’d live on Barack Blvd.
I’d fly into Obama International Airport.
Why not? It can happen……
Blackdown: What do you think Obama as a President will do for race relations in the US?
Joe Nice: Obama has challenged race to the highest degree. When he announced his candidacy, there were other black leaders that were saying that he wasn’t “black enough”. Naturally, there are going to be white people that weren’t going to vote for him because he’s black. Obama isn’t gonna rid America of racism…..that’s not happening anytime soon. Obama’s presidency will raise the level of tolerance and understanding among blacks and whites. That’s more than previous presidents can say for themselves. Once you start understanding each other – things change.
Blackdown: Describe the scenes and emotions in your neighbourhood in Baltimore?
Joe Nice: I’m typing this up and it’s after 1AM. I live on a major street in Baltimore city. Cars are driving by and horns blaring in the distance. People are screaming and shouting. Plenty of noise. Chants of ‘Obama’ and “YES WE CAN” are loud and clear. I haven’t heard people this fired up since 2001, when the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl. You can feel the energy and electricity of excitement in the air. It’s special…..
Blackdown: Do you think Obama will implement real change?
Joe Nice: Yes, but the change he wants will take time. He won the election and the work starts now. There’s never been a president-elect with this much work on the table.
Here are the issues:
1. the economy
2. ending the war
4. ending the dependency on foreign oil.
5. creating jobs.
6. finding renewable sources of energy
Joe Nice: If an incoming president had just one or two of those issues, that would potentially take a term to resolve…..especially # 1 and 2. America wants these issues resolved right away and there are just not enough hours in the day. Let’s not forget – there could be an attack on American soil or a catastrophic natural disaster that will also need Obama’s attention. These aren’t issues that require a Band-Aid and 3 days…. These are issues that will take time to heal. I fully believe he’ll get the job done. I’ve got faith in him. I was chatting with Martyn a while ago, just after Obama’s speech in Germany and he said something that struck a chord, “Obama isn’t just presidential, he’s a world leader.”
That statement made all the sense in the world and it got me thinking….is there more Obama can do for America and the world outside of the confines and constraints of the American political system? The answer is yes. I believe there’s a destiny for America and the world that he can fulfill. This world needs help – lots of it. Homelessness. Poverty. AIDS. Clean water. Education. Food. Environmental issues. The list goes on…..
There’s a worldwide humanitarian need and I fully believe Obama is the man for the job --- whatever job that is. I don’t know if he becomes an ambassador, the CEO of Unicef or if he starts his own foundation. Who knows what the future holds? I know there’s more hope the future with Obama as president.
Obama’s win has also changed the view of America around the world. America has lost a lot of respect from other countries around the world because of the past 8 years. Yesterday morning, I was awake very early and I was on AIM chatting with a few people from overseas. The topic of conversation wasn’t “how is the election” it was “when does Obama get elected”. A McCain victory would mean at least another 4 years of the same Bush tactics and neither the world nor America needs or wants that to happen. People around the world will relate to Obama. He’s seen poverty. He’s lived in a foreign country. He is real. He’s completely different than GW Bush. America is in a much better place now than they were 24 hours ago.