Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Day to Remember

I'm not going to rant or gloat or wax on for 500 words as usual. Today was history in the making. Not because a black president was elected, not because a Democrat won, not because it's the end of one of the longest, most expensive,the most watched and divisive election campaigns in the English speaking world but because more Americans than ever . . ever . . .turned up to vote, exercised their will, their mandate and in true democratic fashion, the majority ruled. For that America, you are to be congratulated. It's also been only 45 years since African Americans were lynched, prevented from voting, vilified, relegated to apartheid, segregated and ignored . . .today you have a black president, a white president . . . a good representative of both races and a black population who is now feeling empowered by their ability to instigate change.

Obama was motivational and inspiring in his acceptance, McCain gracious in defeat. I've yet to see a comment by George Bush and I've been watching and listening for over 10 hours now. Perhaps he's too busy packing.

One thing that has come to the fore with all the interviews with politicians, economists and vox pops with the man/woman in the street. Americans seem to be surprised that the rest of the world has a vested interest in their politics and their choice of president. Well yes, it was 'your' election and 'you' were the ones to vote but the rest of the world watches in eager anticipation because your influence over us looms large in both positive and negative ways. Your economy breaks, so does ours, you go to war, so do we. You abuse civil rights, we condone it. Followers we may be, friends and allies we certainly are but now you know that the world IS watching and frankly, something had to change.

We've had 8 years of a president (yes we, because he's influenced our decisions as well) who's led us to war, blundered politically, taken his eye off the ball economically, listened too long to the influential evangelical right and not had the welfare of the lower to middle classes, the marginalised and the minorities in sight. A president who believes he has a mandate from God and that's a fanatical standpoint in anyone's language.

Obama didn't so much 'win' as inspire a nation who is jaded, scared of losing their homes, sick of sending their sons and daughters to an unjust war in Iraq and facing a crumbling health system. One who is battling to compete in a protectionist trade world and one where they are becoming regarded as unpopular and ignorant (of course that is not a universal truth but a strong perception overseas). To me, one of the main coups of this election is that Americans are realising that they do not live in isolation, they are part of the global village, they must interact with the world, not just bail it out, invade it or surreptitiously finance it for it's own political and economic gain, and that is a wonderful thing to my mind. And if you feel you don't 'know' who Barack Obama is, have a look here and you'll find out more about the man, not just his political rhetoric.

Congratulations to Americans for showing up, making a stand, exercising their one democratic right to vote and forcing change. Congratulations to the Democrats, commiserations to the Republicans . . life as you know it will not cease. The sun will rise tomorrow. Now it's up to Barack Hussein Obama to put his promises into words. I hope he can deliver. The world is waiting.


TCL said...

Very gracefully expressed! I'm exhausted but also happy and proud.

We may have our slight differences but ultimately I'm happy that Americans turned up.

Now I will wake up in a few hours and be absolutely useless for work tomorrow - I mean today.


ashleigh said...

You put that a damn sight better than I could have.

I have some hope now for a little more enlightenment, a little more pragmatism, and an end to the evils of people like Cheney and Rove.

Miladysa said...

Hear! Hear!

Jay said...

Excellent post, Baino! I'm not into politics at all, but this election has been very important. As you say, America's influence is heavily felt across the world and we needed a change.

Well done for writing something political that I didn't want to skim. That's quite an achievement!

Baino said...

Sweet Dreams Teddy boy! Differences are what make us interesting but I suspect we're similar politicaly. Now off to bed! Take a sickie!

Hi Ash, long time no see! Thanks and I'm hopeful too. Although the cynic in me takes these euphoric moments lightly. Tomorrow is another day and he'll have to hit the ground running to prove there's more to him than a liking for pie!

Thanks Mildady. I was genuinely interested in the result today (not helped by Gaudium Gaye who couldn't contain her enthusiasm, we chatted for ages on Skype when I should have been working!)

Jay, I'm not a political animal at all . .well maybe just a little but I'm just sick of Australia's blind following of a clearly incompetent president (and his regime - takes more than one to start a war). I won't be sorry to see Bush go . .not a bit. Perhaps you were able to read it all because for once it was SHORT! Loquacious is my middle name! I'm just proud for Americans who exercised their right . .I'm sure if voting wasn't compulsory here, we'd have huge problem getting anyone to turn up at the polls! I wonder if the yanks would be quite as interested in our elections? Haha!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Great post, Baino, brilliantly expressed.

And well done to all Americans who voted and exercised democracy.

Frankly, I was thinking that the rest of us should get to vote too, given how much we're all affected by what the US does.

kj said...

i'm going to come back and read this slowly and mindfully, but here's hear! hear! for you. it is an incredible moment in history, and we know we are finally putting an end to the last eight years.

yay! and thanks for sharing the enthusiasm.


Nick said...

"Americans seem to be surprised that the rest of the world has a vested interest in their politics and their choice of president." Amazing that they're surprised when America has an economic and military stake in just about every country on earth. Why wouldn't we be interested, it's our future on the line as much as their own?

I sure hope Obama is as radical and progressive as everyone is hoping and doesn't get nobbled by all the usual vested interests that want to see business as usual. I shall be watching what he does very closely.

Terence McDanger said...

What Jay said.


Christopher said...

Americans are surprised by how much of a stake the rest of the world has in our elections because most of us don't realize how much our government has done to both help and harm the rest of the world.
I have hope that, among other things, Obama's presidency will give us a greater sense of our place in the world. For eight years we've lived with a President who represented the very worst of America--the idea that a very small number of self-serving individuals can dictate not only how this country can be run but can also push around the rest of the world.

Obama believes strongly in reaching out and working with others. That in itself is a major change.

kj said...

baino, i'm back again. you have done a magnificant job putting your perspective into words here. it is informative and gratifying for an american to have this bird's eye view of someone from another country. what i like most about this post is that you've moved it away from those damn dualities that so separate, and you can do this because you are an outside observer.

you might consider writing a weekly column in your local newspaper, baino, although not on fridays for obvious reasons!!


Moon said...

I've lived through this for the last year, I will admit to feeling emotional when he made his victory speech. I think change was needed, Bush has been a puppet, and a VERY bad one at that. He is no idiot, but he has been shown up to be one. I also think that voting for a 72 yr old in MaCain would have been a very negative step. Obama is dynamic, a brilliant speaker, so psotitve, and very well liked. I just hope that he concentrates on USA problems, and not meddling in other countries problems.

It truely was a historical moment last night, in lots of ways... the only sad part is the positive vote for propostion 8 here in California... that is so sad, and still shows that America holds so many prejudices.........

TCL said...

I never did figure out the reasons for countries like Oz and Poland to blindly follow our boy president into war. What's in it other than relentless pressure from a Bush White House blinded in their pursuit of whatever it was they were after (still not sure what they gained from invading other countries)?

Now the hard part comes and we Americans have to sort out what was done during the last eight years.

Baino I wasn't ever surprised about the interest the world took in our election. I just had to express my feeling that it is our election and it's up to Americans to wisely pick our next leader (unlike 2004 and 2000).

Megan said...

Great stuff as usual Bainster. I am excited about the direction we are heading. Can't wait until January! A change has come!

Maria said...

A great post, Baino! I also think that America's policy has a great influence on the whole world. And, as ashleigh said, there is some hope noe for a little more enlightenment :)

Baino said...

AV I think the voting turnout was exceptional although I still don't know why they have elections on a Tuesday! I think even more would show up if it was on the weekend!

Nick from what I heard on telly, there are many Americans who know they are a world power but don't understand the extent of American involvement in the politics and economies of others. I don't think Obama is 'radical' by our standards but he is young and dynamic. Although behind the president is a whole bunch of politicians and public servants, it remains to be seen if he can avoid being manipulated.

Quite so Tez.

Christopher, well put but then I knew you'd be erudite on the subject. The blame cannot lie solely with America. We in Australia allow our Government to follow blindly. Although we have a relatively new government too and I'm hopeful that they wll react to American foreign and economic policy in a more 'considered' way. I think the invasion of Iraq has taught us much.

Moving away from the duality was deliberate kj. I'm a swinging voter at home so don't have loyalty to one party or the other. It's the state of the country and the policies presented at the time that sway my vote. We don't have to register for a political party here in order to present our views. We just register to vote.

Moon the country certainly seems to be'lifted' somewhat although clearly all the commenters here at the moment approve of the change. What is Prop 8?

tcl, you are hardly 'typical'. You work in the Government, you're politically aware, you're well educated and well travelled. As for following blindly, I think Australia feels it has an obligation to help it's ally in whatever smallway. As for Iraq, they were suckered in by flimsy evidence at the time when we were also negotiating a free trade deal with the US, perhaps that coloured the Howard Government's thinking.

Megan, let's hope the optimism and fervour remains for the next two months.

TCL said...

Baino - Proposition 8 is the California vote to ban gay marriage. Another bleedin' saga on the American culture war. &%!#!

Baino said...

Hi Maria, snuck in there while I wasn't watching. Yep, the whole thing has been taken well by the western world so far! It's so nice to be so full of hope!

Thanks TCL, I've seen it mentioned on a few blogs and didn't know what it was. My first reaction "Why Bother" What a waste of money just to interfere in someone's private life! (It's not legal here either - very short sighted)

TCL said...

Baino those are my sentiments. Why mess with someone's bedroom - as long as no one is hurtin' kids. Incredible waste of time and money.

Miladysa said...

:D Goodnight Baino x

steph said...

"Perhaps he's too busy packing."

*snigger... snigger*

You're absolutely right though... the silence from Bush is deafening.

But it didn't stop me popping a cork tonight to toast Obama and the future of the world.

btw Grannymar was a real natural on the telly today. Wish you could have seen her - she stole the show!

kj said...

i have to weigh in on the calif. ban of gay marriages. i appreciate tcl's support, but "why mess around with someone's bedroom" reinforces the stereotype that gay marriage is about sex. of course sex matters in primary relationships, but does anyone think first about heterosexual couples in the bedroom? what's at stake in gay marriage is hugely about families and commitment and insurance and equality and acceptance and financial benefits and civil rights.

tcl, forgive me for standing on my second soapbox of the day. i got and respect your larger point. i'm just doing my best to dispute this association of gay people and sex, sex, sex.

(although i am a big fan of sex...)


TCL said...

No worries KJ. I appreciate your point. Perhaps my focus and my words failed me.

The bedroom comment was just one aspect of the subject. But what I didn't convey properly is that people/governments/elected officials often intrude where they don't belong. So whether it's bedroom, or questions of choice or faith, I simply don't agree with or understand a certain faction of the American society.

Quickroute said...

The storm clouds in USA have lifted and the forecast is for more bad weather until January but then the outlook is bright and sunny

Baino said...

Aww Steph, I'd have loved to have seen it. She's quite the pro these days. . .and I don't need an election win to pop a cork!

kj I am definitely 'straight' but I couldn't agree more. Nobody defines me by my sexuality so why should they do so with gay couples.
Agree with you both that relationships, religion etc. are not areas for government to intervene. It's the Christian Right blowing sweet nothings into people's ears that do the damage!

Quickie, maybe so but the markets are down 175 points and they've only been open half an hour. Investors aren't buoyed by the current euphoria!

Quickroute said...

it's gonna take a lot longer to recover from Bush carnage. Wait and be patient, very patient

Megan said...

I hate waiting.

TCL said...

Waiting is cheating.

Bush did so much damage it's going to be a while just to sort out what needs fixing.

Baino said...

If you lot keep this up I'm going to have to start a forum chat!

kj said...

"Nobody defines me by my sexuality so why should they do so with gay couples."

baino, you have a way of saying this concisely right to the point.i like that about you alot.

wow, i've left alot of comments here today. thanks for sharing in the festivity.


Kath Lockett said...

Well said Baino. I think I'll just refer any reasonable political thinkers to your blog and be done with it. Instead, I'll stick to bloodied bras, doggies and chocolates.

Baino said...

kj you're a bloghog!

Kath you are a martyr to the get fit cause, your poor sore boobs!

Ces said...

Hooray for California, Arizona and Arkansas. Yes, they voted to stop the eroding of morality.

I am disappointed that the whites, conservatives, heterosexuals, English-Americans, Norwegian-Americans, Sweddish-Americans- Filipino-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans, etc. and all other hardworking Republicans did not riot and loot. Instead they went to work and continued their responsibilities while most of the black employees called in sick. They did not even have the courage to tell the truth that they wanted to celebrate. We would have understood that and excused them but they wanted to be paid for not working.

TCL said...


Heck of an assumption regarding the nature of an entire population. But cheers! The other faction will get another shot in the next election. We've no monarchy here.

Ces said...

I was referring to my population at work. Almost 2/3 of the black employees who crowd the cafeteria at lunch were gone and according to the directors, they called in sick. Even our testing analysts were not at work, only the black directors came in. I am describing the people who worked that day. No one talked about the election. It was like a wake. There was a sense of unease and the blacks who used to be very friendly and pleasant are cautious of celebrating too much in the open, were very subdued which is weird. The Republicans and conservatives were glum and quiet. Even my good friend did not mention her victory. We used to passionately discuss politics and during our meeting we just talked about our project. I am sure the black people, liberals and Democrats are elated, for a good reason. I think extra caution is being exercised because the majority of the policy makers, the ones responsible for hiring and firing, directors, specialists and executives, project managers are Republicans and conservative. It was confirmed with the exchange of jokes and emails routed to our private emails. I am sure the Democrats, liberals and the blacks are doing the same. BTW, when are you going to unload that backpack of yours? My back hurts just looking at it.

Baino said...

Well Ces I don't know why you have elections on a Tuesday! Either way there would have been celebrations. They should have just taken a 'leave' day tho instead of chucking a very Australian 'sickie'. Saturdays are the best day for an election. I'm not so much exhausted by the backpack as the 'tree dance' haha!

TCL said...

baino - U.S. election day was determined by history from 200 years ago.

It had to be after harvest, so first Tuesday of November. It couldn't be on Saturday because American farmers work on Saturdays. It couldn't be on Sunday because god forbids people to carry out their democratic duties on the Lord's day. It can't be on a school day because people need to work.

So first Tuesday of November. It's just history.

My uni boys won their local union's championship match today. All sins are forgiven!

Ces said...

We can't have elections on Saturdays because the Jews cannot drive on Saturday, the Seventh Day Adventists worship on Saturday, the athiests and herejes have hangovers from Friday's party and the healthcare professionals do not want to lose their weekend shift allowance.

Grannymar said...

I am playing catch up after a busy week mostly away from the computer.

I was delighted with the news when I woke to have Obama confirmed as president Elect!

I hope and pray that the ripples of change spread right across the globe!