A lot of history was made tonight, in the United States, with the election of Barack Obama for President.
Yes it broke the color barrier at last, though it was a lot more than just that. While I believed Race would play a role, I think the economic chaos seemed to overshadow even that concern. One of the interesting statistics thrown out by the media tonight, was that where race was an issue with some voters, a large number of them claimed to still have voted for Obama, due to wanting change, to believing that he could deliver it. Now that does say something, about just how bad things really are.
When you are willing to ignore your prejudices, because of your financial situation, things have to be bad. And in one way, maybe that is the plus for the economic chaos. Perhaps if it hadn’t happened, Obama wouldn’t be President Elect?
Yet too, I think there is a huge difference between those who support Obama, and those who rallied to John McCain. You could maybe see it more clearly in the two speeches tonight. When John McCain gave his concession speech, every time he mentioned Obama, the crowd booed. Not all, I would say, but enough to be heard on the cameras recording the event, and you could also tell, it irritated John McCain, which speaks well of him.
On the other side of the coin, when Obama mentioned McCain there wasn’t any boo’s or catcalls. The crowd cheered actually, and that is what makes me hopeful. The simply fact that even in defeat, those who won, didn’t feel the need to deride the loser, yet those who supported the loser, seemed almost, like they needed to keep on objecting to the man who won. In short, it showed poor sportsmanship.
Now losing is not fun, I have been on that end all too often at times, and you know, it really doesn’t feel good, but in something like this, it really isn’t about just winning or losing. It is about democracy, about people having their say, and making their choices. I don’t like that many of my fellow Canadians chose Harper & his gang, but he is the Prime Minister, until defeated. I don’t like it, but it was the choice of the majority, and thankfully not a large one either. Yet the Obama win was different. It was something that went across party lines, across indifferences, and across prejudices, which makes it rather historical, in itself.
There is something else about his victory that makes it unusual. He owes NO ONE. No big campaign contributors to owe, no big corporations or special interest groups to owe. On top of that, he doesn’t even owe his own party, because he did without them, he did it on his terms, through reaching out to people, and through the Internet. Not just that he raised an enormous amount of money, but from individuals. That is what makes it different, and yes, historical too.
When was the last time that anyone got elected to President, without owing someone? When, basically, was a person elected to just a high office, spending nearly a billion dollars to do so, and still be a free agent?
Hilary Clinton poked fun at him, saying he was a good speech maker, but he had no substance, and yet here is this young Senator who no one heard about until this year, who is now President. You don’t get that far by being just a good speech maker. Obama ran a campaign that was different in other aspects too, that paid off tonight. For once, a Democratic candidate ran a fifty state campaign. He didn’t automatically concede any state to the, and from some sources, supposedly spent about 650 Million Dollars in those so called traditional Republican States.
The old time party hacks didn’t like that, but look at the results. He won the so called big states like Ohio, Florida, that are key to Republican wins, but this time, it was Obama who won. The money paid off, and too, it wasn’t from huge corporations, but from ordinary folks. The real ‘Joe the Plumber’ types, not the phony kind that showed up near the end of this campaign. I mean come on, who in their right mind, that works 10 or 12 hour days, unplugging toilets and drains, is going to truly support a party whose only interest is in giving the giant conglomerates more tax breaks, than them?
Words really do matter, and Hilary should know that. It is what took away her crown of heir to the throne, and it is what elected the first man of color to the White House. Simple words, that reached into people’s hearts, and made them dream. It made them look beyond the statistics, the attacks, the fear.
I don’t envy Barack Obama, because he goes into a job that is dangerous enough in ordinary times. Today, he faces crisis’s everywhere he turns, from the economy to Afghanistan & Iraq. He faces tough choices on Trade, on education and health care, not to mention national security. He comes into the job, when the world is in more turmoil than ever before, and yet, I don’t know, his victory does give one hope. Again, it is the words, but it also the look. You can sense it when you see him, and when you hear him speak. You can see it in his eyes, and so who knows, maybe this is indeed the change we all are hoping for.
I think it is going to be very interesting to see who he tags for the various Cabinet jobs. I wonder, do you think he’ll offer McCain a cabinet post? Now that would be something, and you know, it would make sense too. This could be an interesting few months.