All Obama people now

Nina Simone sums up the mood: it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life. And we’re feeling good.

On Tuesday night, like millions of others, I was with friends, watching the US election results; hope, anxiety, then elation as the numbers came in. We’ll always remember this 5th November.

Obama’s victory is the embodiment of the American dream. The first black President, truly African-American, with roots in four continents, he gives the USA a new face to show to itself and to the world. In these heady early days, no tribute seems over the top. One commentator called Obama “Gorbachev and John Paul II rolled into one”. For my pensioner parents – who also sat up all night – there’s been nothing like it since Kennedy.

In a generation that’s so sceptical about politics and politicians, this election gives us a renewed faith in democracy. Appropriate indeed on Bonfire Night. The reaction to the results showed a spirit of optimism, pride and dignity in both victory and defeat.

At the lowest points of the campaign, Obama was accused of being soft on terrorists, on the enemies of the US and of democracy. In fact, his victory is the best refutation to those who oppose democracy: real participation and real change.

Meanwhile for Sarah Palin, it’s back to the wilds of Alaska – and wilderness politics. While Obama’s journey redefines the pioneer spirit for the 21st century, Palin’s traditional mix of family, faith and flag has enthused the core Republican vote without broadening it. There’s no evidence yet that the Republicans are ready to change; not that anyone cares at present.

We are all Obama people now.


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