20 hours ago
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
I'm not ashamed to say that I'm one of life's cry babies. I cry at weddings, watching movies, reading novels, even at a particularly poignant movement in a song. So, it's not surprising that when I heard the news that Barack Obama was to be the next President of the United States, I bawled like a baby. Then I read his speech and I cried again.
I was on holiday in California two years ago when he first declared his interest in running for president. I remember thinking "Who is this guy who's just appeared out of nowhere?" and cynically wondering how long it would take the Clinton machine to chew him up and spit him out. How wrong was I and how glad am I that I was wrong?
Since then I've kept an eye out for all the Obama goings on. It hasn't been hard. The British Press has been as intrigued by him as I've been from the beginning. He is an impressive man and what he has achieved today has been equally impressive.
Because even more than winning the highest office in one of the most influential countries in the world, he seems to have worked a magic over America that I wouldn't have thought possible. He has made America likeable again and he has made Americans, collectively, like the hero in a feel good movie. And I am rooting for that hero like never before.
When he made his historical "Yes We Can" speech today, I thought of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, I thought of all the slaves that lost their lives in the crossing and those who survived into even greater pain and drudgery.
I thought all the heroes everywhere and the power of the human spirit to effect change. And I made a vow to myself that I would try my hardest in my own life to follow this great example by making things happen for myself that I wanted to happen because it can be done. You just have to not be discouraged. To be calm and focussed and ready.
I'm hoping that others, especially those who feel disaffected and hopeless will be similarly inspired to step the hell up and out.
Well done America. You did good this time.