Embarking on an era of hope
LAST week, apparently for the first time since 9/11, the world changed. Where the event of 9/11 left us filled with despair, the event of last week fills us with hope.
And the event? Barack Hussain Obama, pictured below, was elected President of the United States.
The emotion of seeing the election result was further magnified when accompanied by the classical rendition of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. And it was emotional. Jesse Jackson, Oprah Winfrey and host a black celebrities were seen teary-eyed, unable to contain their emotions, overjoyed at the ultimate vindication of the black civil rights movement in America.
The election of America's first black president is a monumental achievement, indeed. Of that, there is no shadow of doubt.
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It is also true that there was a record turnout of the numbers of people voting. Proving, if any proof was needed, that voters are generally not apathetic, but instead are willing to use their vote if they see the presence of a capable candidate who gives hope to people whose interests have been previously ignored.
But why is the rest of the world filled with so much hope? Why are we so happy that he was elected?
OK, it clearly means that it is the end of the Bush era. And every living creature on Earth can breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Are we hopeful that this will mean a change in US foreign policy? Perhaps. Will it mean the end of the Bush/Neo-Conservative idea of pre-emptive wars – attack them before they attack you? Perhaps. Will it mean the end of the "might is right" philosophy that has so badly scarred the world? Perhaps. Will it mean the end of the "we will fight them over there, so we do not have to fight them over here" philosophy? Perhaps.
But don't hold your breath.
The hope that I certainly have, in the change that was so badly needed, is none of the above.
Barack Hussain Obama, throughout his life and even to this point, will have suffered like so many others from discrimination simply because of the colour of skin, or just from the fact that he has a Muslim middle name.
His African roots will have given him a natural empathy with the rest of the world, like no other president before him.
On his recent tours around the world, he will have seen the large turnouts at his campaign rallies, seeing and hearing for himself the hope that the rest of the world has in his leadership. He will have seen for himself how the decisions that are made in America so clearly impact, directly or indirectly, on the rest of the world.
As president of a country where more than 65 per cent of young people could not find where Great Britain was on the world map, these qualities will, hopefully, prove priceless.
Hopefully, this man can realise this hope against the immense odds stacked against him.