Last night saw the start of demise of the Democratic Party in its present incarnation. Rather than evolve into a party of the 21st century with its future assured by the thousands of young people who had gravitated towards it, the party faces the prospect of being mired in the politics of yesteryear and facing a slow but steady death. That is, unless the leaders take some action.
There is another issue at stake: the international standing of the US which is presently is at its lowest. Why did Democrats Abroad vote in overwhelming numbers for Obama if Clinton is perceived as the person with the foreign policy experience? To those who dismiss international opinion as being of no relevance, In a globalised world, international perception matters, and matters a lot.
With his usual gravitas and grace after losing, Obama said in his speech in San Antonio"The world is watching what we do here. The world is paying attention to how we conduct ourselves. What will we they see? What will we tell them? What will we show them?"
In 1960, I was a 9 year old, watching the debate between Nixon and Kennedy. And I was electrified or to use the current coinage, "fired up" by Kennedy. That passion led me to many parts of the world including being an anti-apartheid activist and working in South Africa in the post-apartheid years.
In all my years in diverse places such as Samoa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK, I have never witnessed what I have in the past few months: name recognition of a candidate by the young. As I stood on a street corner handing out Obama brochures, school kids begged for Obama stickers. I heard a four year old say slowly "Obama" as he toddled past with his father. I thought I had heard wrong. But not so. In various forms, it is resounding worldover where "Obama" is the premier political brand name. It is easy to dismiss this phenomenon as a cult following with no depth. But in so doing, we run the risk of losing not only the future of the Democratic Party, but also the leadership of a global movement that is truly a movement of this millennium.