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Barack Obama wins US Predidency

Obama Campaign poster, Harpers FerryCongratulations to Barack Obama, who has won a decisive victory in the Presidential Election in the USA. And a few words too for John McCain, who was very gracious in his speech of concession - almost the John McCain as I had seen him as the honourable maverick years ago, a John McCain that seemed to have got lost these past 18 months into something a lot less palatable. But this is Obama's night, and his four (or eight) years.

As a British Citizen, I had no vote (why should I have had? because the role of the US president is a worldwide one, perhaps?) and didn't know the details of the candidates, but I see much to admire in this election - many positive aspects.

I see a mould being broken - the future president is not another old white male who can trace 90%+ of his ancestry back to the Mayflower and her successors. It doesn't really matter whether the new guy has blood that's African, Chinese or Hispanic or (as is the case) a mixture. What matters is that you have someone who can inspire and lead - as you've seen him do in his winning of the nomination (against a strong candidate in Hilary Clinton) and then against John McCain. I wish him well in that leading.

I see a win by a comfortable margin - not only on electoral college votes, but also winning in the popular vote. And that means you don't have a question mark over the leadership from the very start as you had with George W. And I see that comfortable margin achieved on a very high turnout. That's fabulous - it gives further strength and authority to a system that had, perhaps, become apathetic in parts.

I see a new leader who talks about may aspects, and talks about them in a worldwide and not isolationist way, and talks about international affairs in such a way that I feel that his first solution isn't going to be to go marching into countries with the troops! And I hear of a campaign that's been financed largely by internet and small private donations - whilst there are question marks over just how much money has been spent, I'm mighty glad it hasn't come from a handful who might then be looking to act as the puppeteers.

There's a lot to be done. An unstable financial market that has overstretched itself and caused real problems. Security issues in the Middle East. Rebuilding bridges with world neighbours, and more. And there's a high expectation - so very high that the question is asked "can he do it?" I don't know the answer, but I do know that he HAS won two gruelling rounds and comes into the third round, to be played over four years, with a record and experience that tells me he has a darned good chance. Mind you, it's likely to be a very short 'honeymoon' once he's into the thick of it in January.


Call me emotional, but I was very glad to see that he took Florida where my wife lived for many years, and Virginia where my sister in law lives. I wish him well for them, for all other Americans, for everyone else in the world - and I hope he finds himself just a little time for friends and family to help keep him crisp, fresh, enjoying his role, and with his feet on the ground.




A footnote for anyone who stumbles across this article, and wonders who I am to be passing comment. I'm just me; I have no special authority to pass comment on American Politics and I'm just expressing my views - and good wishes. Call it the view of a typical Brit if you like.

Graham Ellis, Liverpool, early on 5th November 2008
(written 2008-11-05, updated 2008-11-07)

 
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