My First Lesson On Democracy

I have been an enthusiastic observer of the American Presidential Election recently. Last year, when he declared his intention in contesting for the Presidential Nomination, Barack Obama has been predicted as one of the candidates that will win the sit for the White House, representing Democrats.

Living in the United States for almost two years had given me, at that time, an eight year old boy the chance to learn the basic definition of democracy. Reading an autobiographical comic on Thomas Jefferson, I then started to dig on the history of previous US Presidents voraciously. Each time after the National Society (a subject about history, culture, geography and the basic democratic system of US) class ended, I will spend my time, asking the teacher various questions involving the history of US Presidents.

She was so excited and explained to me in details all questions that I have raised. One day, after class she called me to meet her and presented me with a long ruler which displayed the faces of all 41 presidents of the United States on it, beginning from General George Washington till the previous president at that time, William Jefferson Clinton.

From that moment, I have started to dream of becoming one of those faces that were displayed on the ruler that my teacher gave me. Upon returning home from school, I told my father about the plan to become the future president of the United States. Father explained that it is impossible for me to fulfill my dream since US wouldn’t let a non-white to lead them as president. I argued that what is wrong with the color of our skin? I am no black like all my African-American friends in school, I’m brown! My father laughed and explained that our place is in Malaysia, not here in the US.

This year might proof that my father is wrong. I am optimist on this possibility. Citizens of the United States have understood that color and race is no more an issue in electing their leaders. And hopefully this year too will bring changes on the leadership of this country. The rakyat (people) have started to react with disgust on the abuse of democracy. Freedom of expression was denied, medias were controlled, government machinery were misused and justice was molested by corrupted leaders and politicians. We are hoping for a better Malaysia and a more peaceful world. May this year shows us that there are no more chances for leaders that are corrupt and cruel from being elected to sit on the throne of power.

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