DEMOCRATIC SENATOR Barack Obama has made history after being elected the first black president of the US.
Barack Obama greeted his supporters with his family in front of a crowd of thousands in Grant Park, Chicago, where he made a moving and emotional speech.
“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” said Barack Obama.
John McCain, his republican rival, was gracious in his defeat and, in a speech to his supporters, he spoke of his admiration for the new president, especially in his mobilisation of young and minority voters.
This was the highest turnout in an election since 1960 and figures at the time of The Resident going to press revealed that more than 131 million Americans voted in the election.
Exit polls revealed that Barack Obama gained an extraordinary level of support among the youth of America receiving almost 70 per cent of the votes from first time voters, while he persuaded 66 per cent of those under 30 to cast their vote his way.
As expected, Barack Obama polled 95 per cent of the black vote and had a massive proportion of the Hispanic vote.
Celebrations were held across the US in support of Barack Obama with well wishers in Times Square, New York, hailing the election result as “the dawn of the new America”.
One supporter said: “For the first time in eight years, I can say that I am proud to be an American.”
Democrats in Portugal president speaks about election results
THE PRESIDENT of the Association ‘Democrats Abroad’ in Portugal, Gilbert Wells, said that the astounding victory for Barack Obama was promoted almost solely by economic considerations.
“What Americans have realised is that, ever since President Ronald Reagan, there has been a wholesale attack on social welfare, the poor, homeless, people’s pensions and health care, and they’ve had enough,” said Gilbert Wells.
Gilbert Wells, who had been involved in the United States Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960s and was President of the Young Democrats in Framingham, Massachusetts, during the Kennedy presidency, said that people “had become frightened” as they saw the misguided concept of privatising and investing social care and pensions in the stock market and then paid the price.
“This phenomenon did not start with George W. Bush, it started way back with the so-called ‘Reagan Revolution’ when Republicans got control of administrative agencies in the United States which were supposed to protect the people with a safety net.
“They used these agencies to wage war on the people, particularly the poor,” he added saying that the homeless and destitute could no longer get Supplementary Security Income unless they were disabled and had a registered address from which to claim.
“Reagan denied everyone on face value. I had 300 homeless using the soup kitchen address we were running in Washington DC as a postal address to register for the social security income, but then Reagan cut the lawyer’s budget so they couldn’t appeal on the decision,” he added.
Gilbert Wells said that three successive Republican administrations had “deregulated everything in the economy” investing everything from social security to pensions in the stock market, with the results today all too clear to see.
Although Gilbert Wells, 82, believes that the Barack Obama election crystallises the dream of Martin Luther King, he believes that the issue isn’t really about a black president or a white one.
“Obama represents a sea change as people understand that under Bush the economy deficit was over three trillion dollars, it was a gross mistake to go into Iraq, it isn’t viable to attack Iran and that there’s no way of winning a war in Afghanistan,” he said.
“In future, it will be about reaching an accommodation and consensus in the world since we can no longer fund military bases in 150 countries worldwide,” he concluded.
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