Wednesday, November 05, 2008

a new dawn

Barack Obama has succeeded in bringing together a broad-based movement for change (not just hoping for change but being the change) . Focusing on the issues of the day including economic downturn, the war on terror and wider social justice issues such as access to heath-care and education, Obama has given the Democrats confidence and purpose- 2 vital elements in any political campaign. Added to that, his inspiring rhetoric, a clear narrative and a well-funded, hyper-efficient, organised grassroots operation have mobilised millions of people across the world to join him in his journey. Many politicians attract support, few genuinely inspire people.

Like others across the globe, I was moved by the momentous scenes played out across the US-the queues of people to vote, the sheer enthusiasm of the voters (not always evident in UK elections!) and unbridled joy of his victory. In particular, the reactions of the older generations of african-americans who still bear the scars of the civil rights struggle will remain in my memory for ever.

Realising the uncertainty and pain caused by recession, the Democrats have rightly called for celebrations to be principled and brief and rightly expectations need to be managed but today is a day for celebration and optimism. An American peace worker has declared: "Before, we said 'yes we can.' Yesterday, we cried 'yes we did.' Today, it's 'now we will." In politics winning elections is often seen as the triumphant culmination of a campaign when it is actually the beginning. Gaining power is one thing, using it positively can be harder.

My prayer is that I will look back in years to come and remember where I was the night Barack Obama made hope for change a reality.

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