Watching BBC News Coverage of the US Election, I realised Obama’s victory was tangible, even imminent. And today, 634 days after his campaign began, Barack Obama was confirmed the victor, and the first ever African-American President of the United States.
This has been incredible. The most expensive campaign ever, using the internet in a never-before-seen way, and to the bemusement of his peers, has seen the candidate and voters alike cross the lines of age, ethnicity, background, and party, and it feels like an unprecedented opportunity for similar spirit around the world.
‘A new America starts tomorrow…’
…the sentiments of an excited Florida voter. And by around two-thirty, The Republicans had all but conceded.
This is a huge victory for Black people, many of whom, in their lifetimes had felt the racism and bigotry in a country where many laws giving racial equality were implemented less than 50 years ago. But despite this, 9 out of 10 voters said they had not cast their ballot on grounds of race.
Talk turned to a defining generation. Young people have come out and voted for change. Not only young, but open-minded, liberal people with good ideas who are willing to share them. Could this be an end to politics in America as we know it?
The conservative core that McCain was depending on, who actually felt the campaign energised by Sarah Palin, the Christian-right, the neo-Conservatives, are they all running scared? Will the White, middle-class, middle-aged, male conservative politics, slowly be replaced by anyone with dreams, ideas and hopes that people now know they share?
…a swing voter says. Obama has no doubt stirred up hope in voters that he can make a difference to their lives. People will have felt they’ve had a part in making a difference of huge historical importance. Will the masses be empowered as things start being done in a more practical, pragmatic, and inter-connected way?
And can this hope, and clear determination and commitment from Obama be transferred into action? In terrible economic conditions, that many feel hindered McCain’s attempt at the White House, will Obama be too restricted?
A Republican pundit claimed he would bring in old ‘protectionist’ economic policies. Was this just an old-school politician seeing that there are only so many ways of doing things? I am certain.
The pundit also said that jobs would be lost in old-industries, that many people wouldn’t be happy. But isn’t this just an inevitable progression? Are we still evolving after all? Will this pave the way for new, highly-skilled technical jobs for the young and bright? Obama clearly embraces the ethos of Silicon Valley.
Similarly will his commitment for change mean new and better alternative energy use and sources? Republicans and many politicians worldwide have been reluctant to seriously acknowledge the environment. Many Americans simply do not understand that oil and coal just won’t last forever. I think he has every opportunity to make some drastic but necessary changes here too.
And he will be more diplomatic. No matter whether critics said he was aloof, critics are bound to criticise! His speeches, particularly the acceptance speech for his candidacy, were poignant, captivating, and most of all believable. He seemed at ease and to be enjoying the race. And much of the world will have seen that too.
He has gained the White House. He has also gained endorsements from Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, although he and America are not easy bed-fellows. German and Dutch finance ministers have mirrored this international and professional admiration, support and belief in Obama.
I’d like to think Politics in the UK could be changed too. No more boring, tit-for-tat, ‘well if they’re all saying that then lets say the same’ (opposition) ‘or, well if they’re saying that, then we’ll say the opposite’ (3rd party). People should be interested, especially young people. Older people might be controlling it now, but not forever.
Fresh ideas, new types of people, listening and pragmatism could replace favour, nepotism, tradition and polticians seeming out of touch. People should feel they can make a difference, and difference will affect them. And most of all it should be engaging.Because politics matters, just look at America.