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Can Obama Lead America from Arrogance to Humility
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Why a black person was elected the President of America? I feel that the American ruling class has realized that without fundamentally changing the domestic and the foreign policies, it is almost impossible to run the system. President Obama has become a symbol of the need to change the policies. However, the question is that will he be able to bring the changes which are needed. The most important change is to lead America from arrogance to humility. Because not only the ordinary people but a section of the ruling class have come to believe the myth that America is the greatest country on the earth. There is a saying which is very commonly heard “America is the greatest, love it or leave it”. Nobody can disagree that America is a great country, because this statement is based upon facts. However, to call any country the greatest is not based upon facts but is a manifestation of arrogance because it implies that the other countries are not great.
When we call America a great country then the question arises, is this greatness mainly because of the land or the people of this country. America is very rich in natural resources. It has a very diverse climate, mountains, valleys, vast grasslands, fertile fields, and 6000 miles of sea coast which is open to shipping all year round, great lakes and great rivers. Are the American people better than people in the other countries? There is no historical evidence to prove that the American people are superior to the people in the other countries. The most educated and accomplished people did not leave Europe to come to the states. Neither those people left Europe who had some social status or prestige there. A majority of those people who left Europe were the one who could not make in Europe. Most of them were very poor and uneducated. Many people came from Ireland because they were starving. The famine in Ireland killed many people who did not migrate. There were some people who were exiled from Europe because of their criminal background. Australia was also a penal colony where many criminals from Europe were exiled. There were another group of people who were persecuted in Europe because of their religious or ideological views. These people were not tolerated there, some of them decided to come to America. To give up arrogance and adopt humility we may say that America is not great because of the Americans but America is great in spite of Americans.

The poor and deprived people can also become great but they should always remember their humble origin otherwise arrogance will not let them stay great. Arrogance leads to ignorance and humility leads to knowledge. President Obama is right when he wants us to give up arrogance and adopt humility. This is the only way to preserve our greatness.

After becoming the President, Obama has repeatedly emphasized the need to change our attitudes. He was received differently in South America, at the summit of Americas, than President Bush because of his humble attitude. Obama, during his recent trip to Russia said that America has to share power with the other countries because it can no longer keep all the power itself. During his visit to Africa, Obama started the trip by visiting Ghana. He went to the place where his forefathers and many blacks were shipped to America. These people were first captured like animals and then chained to the ships as if they were a cargo rather than human beings. They were not even given the privilege of defecation and urination. Many perished during the arduous journey.

Many Americans are still not ready to listen to Obama’s message of humility. They still want to follow the policies of Bush, Cheney and McCain and are influenced by their dogmatic rightist policies. These people equate humility to weakness. The setbacks in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Iraq and now in Afghanistan have not affected their arrogance. Even the current recession has made no dent in their arrogant attitude. The Japanese company Toyota is going to make more cars than the General Motors this year. Similarly more cars will be sold in china than America this year. President Obama has acknowledged that India and China are going to become big powers. China’s economy is expected to grow about 8% this year and India’s economy is predicted to grow about 7% while America’s economy is shrinking this year.

The last question is what will happen if America does not adopt humility and remains arrogant. There is a saying in both English and Punjabi languages which means the same “Pride hath a fall”. If we do not change according to the new realities then we can have a third world war which can prove disastrous for America and most of the world. The Sikh holy book “Guru Granth Sahib” preaches that arrogance is the chronic and the worst disease affecting mankind while humility is the highest virtue of a person.


Dr. Sawraj Singh is Chairman of Washington State Network For Human Rights, and Chairman of Central Washington Coalition For Social Justice.


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