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.