It is true that during the long and gruelling election campaign, Barack Obama had to play down his race, explain that his middle name was a legacy handed down to him with no religious significance at all and, in recent months in his speeches and pronouncements, drift gently away from the left. But this does not take away anything from the historic nature of the moment, nor from being a tribute to the American people for voting the way they did.
The American presidential ballot is the most important election on earth, since it has the potential of affecting the welfare of all human beings. That only 5.1 per cent of the world's adult population—that is, the US citizenry—has franchise in this election does not speak well of global democracy. With economic globalisation, whereby one nation's policies can affect the well-being of another nation, unless we all have a say in the elections of the most powerful nations, global democracy will tend to be sidelined, giving rise to dissent and insurgency. What gives rise to hope is that the outcome of at least this election would have been no different if the whole world was allowed to vote.