Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama wins...

Last night, America made the choice between marching towards change and progress, or clinging to the status-quo.

Fortunately, my adopted nation did not disappoint. The overwhelming support for Barack Obama reminded me why I love the United States and, deep down, what great-hearted, aspirational and wonderful people Americans are.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain were, in their own ways, outstanding candidates. From a personal basis, I came into 'election fever' fully behind McCain, who I thought represented determination, bravery, independence and a rare willingness to embrace ideas from both the right and left wings of American politics. But, I realise now, the 2008 wasn't between two men.

It was a choice between two paths. The one America has blithely trod for the last eight years, which has led us to:

A costly, bloody war we entered into without reasonable justification; the erosion, or outright elimination, of the values, freedoms and liberties the United States was founded on; stagnation politically, socially, economically and scientifically and the polarization of America between 'red' and 'blue' states, each showing outright contempt of each other.

Or the other path, which offered:

Nothing. Nothing concrete, anyway. Just the promise of change, the audacity to hope that things would be different. A step towards humanism, rationality and tolerance. A deliberate decision to discard conservative ideology and dogma, which is ultimately just as destructive as the socialist rhetoric the right-wing fear so much.

Keeping a close eye on this race over the last few months, I learned so much about America. As John McCain embraced the core conservatives who won victory for George Bush in 2000 and 2004, I realised that this election was probably going to be the most historic election in my lifetime - and an acid test of whether or not the United States truly lived up to the vision I'd seen through what my fellow expats called my 'rose tinted spectacles.'

But, you know what?

America didn't fail this test.

Everything I'd come to fear - the accusations of racism, of stubborn conservatism, of fear-mongering and hatred and outright lies - came to nothing.

The vast majority of Americans saw that the choice came down to staying where they were, or moving forward. So they tightened their bootlaces and took that first step.

Last night, on Fox News, I watched the map of the United States sweep with blue. I felt the palpable excitement building as people realised - yes, this was really happening.

And, this morning, it feels like waking up to a spring morning after a long, cold winter.

Everybody I've met has seemed upbeat, hopeful, positive and proud today.

Proud of themselves and proud of their country. Excited about what lay ahead, because wherever this new, uncharted course took America, it meant we were leaving what went wrong behind us.

Hope is a very powerful force. In many ways, Barack Obama's election means little. It'll be seventy days until he's sworn in - and many months more before we begin to see the changes he's promised.

But like a battle-field rally, this election result has breathed new life into the American dream. This morning, it's as if everybody who supported Barack Obama realised that: "If, together, we can achieve this... What can't we achieve?"

Maybe it'll be another Camelot. Maybe it'll be a disaster. Whatever happens, however, the next page of American history has been left tantalisingly blank. It's up to us to fill us in.

And for me, today marks a special event. As I say with Mini-Militant bouncing on my knee, watching the morning news, I realised that this was another of those 'you'll always remember where you were when it happened' events.

Except unlike the shooting of JFK, or the death of Diana, or the falling of the Twin Towers - this is a historic day we'll remember for all the right reasons.

Thank you, America, for holding firm when I was in doubt. I'm enormously excited to be part of whatever happens next.

11 comments:

Amalthea said...

I was so afraid to go to sleep last night, I was afraid I would wake up and something would have happened to take it all away. I am with you 100% in this post, I feel so hopeful this morning. America surprised me in the best way possible.

I love your writing.

paisley penguin said...

Excellent post and LVOE the new banner! I am supremely proud of my country this morning! As an Anglophile I am glad we as Americans have made an English person so happy. :)

Coffee Bean said...

Wonderful post Roland! You are a very good writer, if I haven't told you before. I appreciate being able to look at this election through your eyes and understand the excitement and hope felt by the majority in this country. I am also looking toward the future with hope... hoping that my fears were all wrong. I am very interested to see how this all plays out over the next four years.

The picture of you bouncing your baby on your knee as you watched the results is precious. You are a good guy.

Expat mum said...

You should be in Chicago! Everyone is smiling! I am unpacking my suitcases!

Suki said...

I've been sharing almost all your Election 2008 posts on Google Reader, and simply had to comment on this post and say - YAY!
I just hope the trickle-down effect happens soon :). I'd love an Obama in India.

The Chemist said...

Yay! I was on the edge of my seat watching the election Roland. The moment Ohio went to Obama I knew it was over. Unfortunately this means that every single discussion I have with a certain relative about politics will involve the word "nigger", but I'm glad nonetheless.

Ever hear this song?

TheLaw26 said...

What an amazing day in American history! Dreams do come true! Did you all see how Oprah Winfrey revealed this week that she uses a vision board to visualize her goals and harness the power of intention? Oprah created a vision board, months ago, that emphasized Obama as president and the gown she intended to wear during his imagined inauguration.

For anybody who doesn’t know, a vision board is collage of image that symbolizes a desired outcome. By looking at these images daily and imagining these desired outcomes – like accomplishing a goal – your brain becomes more honed in to making this reality. Many top athletes, entrepreneurs, presidents, and philanthropists have used vision boards to help them accomplish their goals.

I know that on www.TheVisionBoardKit.com you can download a free chapter that includes the eight basic ingredients of a successful vision board.

Roland Hulme said...

I think Law26's comment is kind of spammy, but I'll keep it here as I'm kind of a sucker for that 'The Secret' crap.

Now, how can I get Oprah to visualise a $250,000 a year job for me?

Coffee Bean said...

I wonder if she has a vision board for keeping the weight off...

Bob said...

Man,
Congrats for the comment on that arrogant, conceited bitch's blog, Slutty McWhore.
She is the kind of modern girl who is totally fuckedup but insists on putting a mask of "slut-power", meaning she thinks she is better than anybody because she sleeps with anyone she wants, gets abortions and works as whore. She thinks being so "liberal" makes her modern, bold and progressive.
In anything else besides sex, she is a total loser, but that won't prevent her from criticizing basically everybody, including hard working women who don't use sex to get ahead in life.

Cheers and all best,
Bob

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