Only in America

I was speaking to a friend about Barack Obama's victory, the once-unimaginable milestone of anWorld
African-American making it to the White House.

Shaking his head in amazement, he said, "Only in America."

I told him that Peru elected a man of Japanese descent as President in 1990, the first Latin American country to be ruled by a person of East Asian descent.

Shaking his head in amazement, he said, "Only in America and Peru."

I told him that India elected a woman as Prime minister as early as 1966 and is now ruled by a Sikh man, with a woman of Italian descent chairing the ruling party.

Shaking his head in amazement, he said, "Only in America, Peru and India."

I told him that Guyana elected a man of Chinese descent as president in 1970, making him the first ethnic Chinese president of a non-Asian country. Guyana also elected a woman as president in 1997.

Shaking his head in amazement, he said, "Only in America, Peru, India and Guyana."

I told him that Pakistan elected a woman as Prime Minister in 1988, making her the first woman elected to lead a Muslim country. 

Shaking his head in amazement, he said, "Only in America, Peru, India, Guyana and Pakistan."

I told him that Sri Lanka elected a woman as Prime Minister in 1960, as did Great Britain in 1979 and Bangladesh in 1991.

Shaking his head in amazement, he said, "Only in America, Peru, India, Guyana, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Great Britain and Bangladesh."

I told him that the Philippines elected a woman as President in 1986, as did Indonesia in 2001 and Liberia in 2005.

Shaking his head in amazement, he said, "Only in America, Peru, India,
Guyana, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Great Britain, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia and Liberia."

I told him that Argentina, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Finland, Nicaragua, Panama, Malta and Latvia have all had women leaders.

Shaking his head in amazement, he said, "Only in America, Peru, India,
Guyana, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Great Britain, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, Liberia, Argentina, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Finland, Nicaragua, Panama, Malta and Latvia."

"Why don't you just say 'only in the world'?" I asked. "Wouldn't that be easier?"

"I suppose I could," he said, "but why do I have the feeling you're going to tell me about the female Martian who was swept to power on Venus?"

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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