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Election Day, Obama, Canada, and Hope
November 3, 2008, 9:31 pm
Filed under: politics, society

“So the election is tomorrow.”

Let me share how I think that sentence should be emphasized. “So, THdsc00198E election is tomorrow”.

Lots of people are saying this is an important, even historic day. I agree. But really, the changing of the guard in arguably the most powerful position in the world, is by its nature important, and usually historic in some way or another.

However, tomorrow, in my view, is monumental.

Sure, big political events like the falling of the Berlin wall and 911 were impactive. But our world suffers from social inequities as well as political and ethnic battles, and the former are usually sidelined, even though they probably play a larger role in the latter than it seems. Racism is still rampant if less out in the open, and having a black person in the oval office (as President), is such a powerful image in the struggle for racial equality, and frankly in the American Dream, that even I, a Canadian, am in awe. The contrast provided by the trivial Canadian election last month has many of us Canadians looking at the US for hope.

And, “there is nothing false about hope”, even for us Canadians. That line (from Obama’s New Hampshire speech) is powerful. The… rendition of it has millions of hits on youtube. It’s effect here in Canada has passed into the streets. I recently bought an Obama “Yes We Can” teeshirt. I will wear it into pieces I am sure. There are hundreds around, in shops and on people. I have turned on the radio and twice in the last month heard different songs about Obama (my favourite were the reggae varieties!).  Near my house there is a market. While buying groceries one day I saw a sheet posted to a public phone (very clearly just some individual’s statement) with Obama’s face and the word ‘messiah’ written underneath.dsc001961

‘Messiah’ is a hefty title, but when in the recent history of the world have you ever had to defend why someone doesn’t merit that title. I think that individual actually has at least some ground to stand on: no one in any case I can think of has or had a projected future centered around them that has been anywhere near as optimistic the one the optimists project with Obama. I have heard that Bush actually thinks God put him in the white house (not sure how true that is). Let’s consider for a minute what Obama might think of himself in this projected future.

For effect, pretend you are Obama. Imagine waking up in the morning and thinking: “if everything goes accordingly my plan, I will change the world and am the most suited person in the world to do so, and(!) in fact many people think it is my responsibility to do so”. How unbelievable is it that someone wakes up with that thought and may be right?

Still pretending you’re Obama, now think of when you and your wife discussed the presidential bid, way back a year ago or more. You talked about the impact on your family, the prestige, all the good and bad stuff. If you get elected, there is a chance that because of what you represent, someone might try to kill you. You agreed (as the Obama’s must have) that the opportunity to take this role outweighs the value of your life, and ultimately your family. Imagine having that conversation with your spouse! That’s crazy!

Sure, the reality of his presidency will be much less utopian than the change he is projecting (he’s got his work cut out for him). Nevertheless, I think tomorrow by itself is a major shift in the social evolution of the world. The Mayans say we are entering a new cycle in 2012. Our world has been plagued by wars and injustices for millennia. Maybe this is the turning point.

And maybe not, but if it is, what a great story to be living through…and we can hope can’t we?



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