Friday, November 07, 2008

Can Obama Re-Ignite Our Love Of All Things US?

Barack Obama being elected President was a defining moment in history. I have always had a love-hate relationship with politics and this has been mostly hate in the US simply because, in my lifetime, most of the Presidents have been largely uninspiring and, in some cases, down right useless.

My politics are naturally conservative, being a child of Thatcher, so I should not have any positive feelings for Obama being President. However, it seems to me that this man is something different, not a left winger with an agenda like Blair and Brown in the UK, but a reformer, someone who can make positive changes and I am not the only one.

The images of people having election parties around the world, Kenyans partying through the streets waving US flags and German's commenting that they 'want to love America again', is just astonishing.

The fact that he happens to be black is just a side issue. Yes it's marvellous that a black guy can get elected in the US and yes it marks a huge step forward for all races in America, and that can only be a good thing, but that is not the story.

The story is the man himself and that is what people are reacting to, it is also a story of people starved of leadership looking for someone to take control.

I am sure most people in the world have become weary with George Bush. In our leaders we aspire to have an educated, strong, reliable and honest person running the show. This gives us reassurance that we are being looked after by someone we can trust.

Bush was non of these and few people believe anything he said.

It is odd that some American friends have said that in many ways Americans around the world are judged by what their President is like, and over the last few years that has not been a nice thing. I read in The Daily Mail yesterday that this was echoed by a chap called Chris Johnson in Chicago.

"Now I can travel overseas again and people won't look at me all funny when I tell them which country I come from, you don't know how much that means".

Many important people have made comments on the Obama effect but the above statement, for me, sums up what it is all about. Barrack Obama is seen as a man who can 'fix' America and make Americans proud.

Fundemantally we all love our American cousins, we love the movies, the TV shows and even their over the top waiter service. We find them at times brash, over-cofident, selfish even, but we love them non-the-less.

As Brits we have covetted our 'special relationship' with the US but in recent years with Bush at the helm and a succession of idiots in charge of the UK we have become disillusioned, bitter even, about our out-of-touch politicians, we crave a leader who will make a difference.

He may not be ours and his politics maybe not be my cup of tea, but I for one am glad that he won.

Churchill once said, a little tongue in cheek, "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”

Obama may turn out to be a great President, he may turn out to be all noise and speeches, but America stood up on November 5th and made the right choice.

November 5th in the UK is 'Bonfire Night', we let off fireworks, build huge fires and burn effigies of a man named Guy Fawkes who, 403 years ago, tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

While we were burning the memories of traitor who was trying to wreck our political system, America was choosing a hero who is looking to fix theirs, I hope he lives up to his promises for his sake, for our sake, but most of all for our US cousins who have a taken a flyer but, in my opinion, reached into their hearts and made the right decision.

God Bless America.

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