My earliest recall of having seen a black American president was when I watched the movie Deep Impact (1998) the first time. In fact the curiosity of seeing actor Morgan Freeman play the role of an American president was among which compelled me to watch the movie; a friend told me it was an interesting sight to behold. In the movie, Mr. Freeman was at his usual best lending the much needed dignity and humanity to a character faced with the dilemma of saving and, at the same time, sacrificing millions of American lives, in the face of the inevitable collision of earth and comet. Watching the movie back then it didn't take much knowledge of American history to discern that the character of President Tom Beck was far more fantastic (as in, far-fetched) than the movie's plot itself.
Fast forward to ten years. November 5, 2008, about noon (Philippine time). America has just chosen its first African-American president. It is hard not to get teary-eyed seeing for the first time a black American First Family walk on stage (this kind of scene doesn't come around so often); and when Senator Barack Obama finally uttered his first words as President-elect of the United States of America, I don't know about you, but I had to ask this question in thankful silence: America, what have you done?
Political pundits from around the globe have offered their own pieces of thought to dignify the above question; and it may well take another ten, twenty, or a hundred years before the rest of humankind is able to ascertain what indeed have the Americans done on that fateful day of November 4th, 2008. That's how it is. It is only history (or, in the more spiritual sense, the Maker) that can tell; and history does not happen overnight.
While waiting, I may just have to get back to my own reality as a Filipino in this small corner of the world and continue with my own little struggle -- eking out a living while doing my best to make this country of mine a better place to live.
Meanwhile, thank you, America.