Wednesday, 5 November 2008

338

Martin Luther King - "A Voteless people is a powerless people".


An uplifting and momentous night. Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. Congratulations America.

There will be those who will argue his election to be one of a colour contest. God knows CNN has, in its hours of coverage today, rarely interviewed a white supporter, a Hispanic supporter, a supporter in a turn around state, to give the world a balanced sense of the massive, varied types of American's who have rallied behind Obama.

The ambivalent will speak of a Democratic year and the inevitability of their win. The cynics dressed up as realists will deny the magic or the emotion in an attempt at a measured response and to look beyond the election drama. They will jump to simply describing this to be a redemption for black people, for minorities. And for those naive souls who really do believe in the audacity of hope.

All will ignore the reality of how much harder it is to stand as the representative of a new order, to dare to introduce that new order into a bleaker time, in a world as divided as it is today. With the odds stacked against, and to still be able to bring together millions of your own fellow, disillusioned citizens into one heartbeat, through presence, uplifting rhetoric and conviction in both self and citizens, points to another kind of politician. One we haven't really witnessed so personally in our lifetime.

People have forgotten too, the power of speech. The power of words to be able to effect a watershed of personal and public change more than forced laws, despair and suppression ever will. Yes, Barack Obama, has skillfull advisors. And a campaign manager who created and ran a slick, intelligent and thoroughly modern campaign. And so he should. But then again, look at the inspiration behind the creation. Hardly a case of turning straw into gold. The possibility, that shivering excitement of maybe, quickly turned into a yes we can. The "tipping point", and Obama's recognition of it, at its best, most obvious moment in modern history.

Barack Obama is far more than just America's first black American president. While he's campaigned for his country, and his allegiance is to the stars and stripes first and foremost, his brave, bold and timely vision is one that has resonated across the world.

Look further than America's shores. To the fact that we are all celebrating. That as hundreds and thousands of text messages and emails, Twitter feeds and Facebook updates - as irrelevant as that may seem but which are more important than realised - has shown, there is a remarkable collective cognisance. We are all speaking of the same hopes and dreams on this particular day.

The world wants what Obama is talking about. The world needs the same audacity of hope.

There is a force, an undercurrent that has become an overcurrent for so many decades now, that it has become the unfortunate standard by which we have all lived our lives. In turn this is how all lives are now automatically lived. It has affected everything that has ever meant something. And it has wiped out the simple idea of hope as a realistic arbiter of change, without the accompanied nervous laughter of the foolishness of it all.

It's called, un-hope. That watery, glib, stoic, bleak path that continues to stonewall change and effectiveness, and which cements non action in countries the world over. Instead, it encourages greed and fear, drives poverty, ego, anger, ignorance and supports bad governance and corruption.

From gilt-edged government halls to cardboard hovels, It is deemed naive to simply, desire another way. It it not lost on me even remotely, that I am sitting on a comfortable chair, with food in my fridge and writing about hope on my iBook. However I am linked to the world in that I have never witnessed what I have witnessed today. A moment in history, that we all actually believe has the potential to change the way America and the world thinks, acts and is.

People voted. For this man. Who inspires. Who always smiles when he mentions his wife's name. Who cuddles his kids so affectionately, and who always swallows a lump in his throat when he mentions them. But who is also a skilled, sophisticated, clever, and thoughtful, politician.

Now, we celebrate. Soon, we will see what can and will do.

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