Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961. His father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas, and he was born in Hawaii, raised with the help of his grandfather, who served in Patton's army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank.
Although he has humble origins and African roots, he was given a chance to graduate from Harvard Law School, one of the most selective and distinguished schools, before ascending to the position of the USA presidential candidate.
He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008. Besides, he was the first African-American president ever in human history, which is an extraordinary achievement.
The election of Obama represents the merits of American democracy, in a society deeply characterized by slavery and prejudice. He recruited to his candidacy voters of all stripes: black, white, Hispanic, southerners and northerners, educated and non-educated, the politically engaged and those who had previously stayed on the sidelines, which means that Americans placed their faith in Obama and turned their backs to the past.
Right after he was elected, he made a victory speech in which he conveyed a message to all the American people. In that speech he talks about a woman, Ann Nixon Cooper, who was 106 years old at that time (she has already died) and who hadn't been able to vote for several years just because of the color of her skin and to the fact that she was a woman.
But now things are different and she has seen America being through several changes during the last century.
The whole speech is all about hope and faith, and although there have been progresses, Obama says "there is so much more to do". He holds a promise of uniting the country to bring all the races together and to look toward a common future, and finally begin the healing process that centuries of discrimination and oppression have inflicted.
Obama was a unique candidate who faced a new American electorate. Also, the times in which we live played a huge role in his election. Obama made himself the candidate of change just at the right moment.
In my opinion, this human dimension of his triumph is more important than the details of his election program. This victory opened a new door of possibilities for America and for the world. People in other countries see America differently now and Americans have a chance to think again about who they are.
If I had had a vote, I would definitely have given it to Obama!