Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Its 2:28 AM in Sydney

I hope to hell you're getting ready to see the world change in 30 odd minutes and not reading this in real time.
I made a promise to myself that I would watch this when I could hear every word and let it wash over me.
To me this means hope.
Yep cynical jaded me has just said that.
What I think or write means nothing.
I'm waiting to see history happen and I feel a pure sense of hope and want to do whatever I can to make this a real thing, tangible and important.
I'm not even American.


Anonymous said...

On Saturday August 28, 2008, an article appeared in Slate Magazine titled "If Obama Loses: Racism is the Only Reason McCain Might Beat Him."
Today, I witnessed the inauguration of the first black President, Barack Hussein Obama. Although it did not mark the end of racism, for me it marked a beginning. Only a few months ago, I doubted the likelihood of his presidency, I assumed the world was as depicted in that article. Don't get me wrong, I believe that world still exists but I didn't count on the excitement, inspiration and hope that Barack Obama would generate to drown out that noise. His talk of inclusiveness has resonated with not just Americans, but the world…it's estimated that more people watched his inauguration than any event…EVER. For all the criticisms of the United States, what President Obama has said is true "in no other country is his story possible." It's a miracle when something restores your faith in humanity. If we can elect the first black president then why can't we do anything we once thought impossible (okay, not impossible but not likely in the lifetime of me or my 81-year-old father). The most important lesson for me is to dream big. Hope is a powerful thing…without it, what's the point of living.

Not my guest post...just me ranting through tears of happiness. xoxolisa

Anonymous said...

Really wish I shared your optimism on this. Perhaps I have no sense of history. Old President out, new one in. Think Obama should be judged by his actions in office. We'll see. In a supposedly (and I use that with caution) integrated, equal society, why should the colour of his skin matter? The fact it's such a big deal surely has more to do with the continuing deep-seated issues of racial prejudice and restrictions on opportunity in the US? Let's hope that changes.

In any event, I'm for equality, better dealings with "Arabworld" (a Qatari friend's word, not mine) and economic improvements.


Anonymous said...

But you forget one important thing...this is also a call to action for Americans and the world. Judge Obama by his policies but don't forget to judge yourself and how you have contributed to make this world better. I do not suffer from some notion that Obama is a miracle worker nor do I think I can make a change alone... Lisa

Anonymous said...


I know you well and I know that you do not usually embrace these sort of events with a sense of optimisim. Am I correct?

I think/I hope that most people in this world feel hope today. I also think that Obama and Lisa are correct. It is about all of us. We can, we all must make a difference and lend a helping hand.

Take care my good friend and keep the faith.


Anonymous said...

I see Barack Obama as a leader of true vocation and nobility such as is almost impossible to encounter in politics. As far as the racial issue goes, I believe that his victory effectively refutes the sociological cliches about race being a barrier to success in today's society which I never entirely bought into anyways.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to you and thanks for your optimism. Life here in Ann Arbor can't be beat! Let me know when you are passing through the States again...or NYC at Mama's place.

Anonymous said...

Agree Obama is an improvement over the last incumbent. Seems like a decent chap, has his wits about him and is a good role model.

Curmudgeonly points:

Not the "first black president", just the first in the US of A. Even South Africa managed to elect a black president as far back as 1994.

Given that the last two US secretaries of state have been "African American", "colour" is clearly not a bar to high office.

That being said, the race barriers are still very much there in the Southern (largely McCain voting) states. I write as one who has lived in NC. Let's hope Obama delivers, because the turnout of Af-Am voters for him in VA and NC was heroic.

Would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Condoleezza been picked as McCain's running mate. Allegedly there were issues over sexual orientation which precluded that choice. Which opens up a whole other... but I digress.

Frankly I don't care if he's black or yellow, white or tan, so long as he has some steer on improving the economy and does not make things worse in Iraq / Afganistan / Palestine etc., improves access for all to a decent education in the USA (which I view as the key to everything) and (god help him),ameliorates the US healthcare situation.

& he can't do it on his own, because I believe he needs not us, but Congress? Ay and there's the rub.


Anonymous said...

And on that + note, let the games commence....


Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with what TR-HW says about the racial element involved here - it does seem a bit overblown. Barack Obama is actually half-white.

Anonymous said...

Great Obama spin on the energy/climate issue... as reported by the BBC:

"President Barack Obama has called for the US to become energy independent, saying its reliance on foreign oil and global warming posed threats.

Outlining his energy priorities, he said the country would not be held "hostage to dwindling resources, hostile regimes, and a warming planet".

He called for greater fuel efficiency and an "energy economy" aimed at creating millions of jobs.

He also ordered a review of whether states can set car emission standards.

This challenges a Bush administration decision which favoured a national standard for vehicle pollution.

At his first White House news conference since becoming president, Mr Obama said he would reverse America's dependence on foreign oil while creating jobs, but warned there was no "quick fix".

"We will commit ourselves to steady, focused, pragmatic pursuit of an America that is freed from our energy dependence, and empowered by a new energy economy that puts millions of our citizens to work."

He added: "Now is the time to meet the challenge of this crossroads of history, by choosing a future safer for our country, prosperous for our planet, and sustainable."

Mr Obama ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review its refusal of a waiver which had previously allowed California to set its own - stricter - vehicle emission and fuel efficiency standards.

He said California had taken bold moves in implementing the standards.

Mr Obama said: "The days of Washington dragging its heels are over. "My administration will not deny facts. We will be guided by them."

His statement that the US would lead on climate change was a clear swipe at his predecessor's sceptical view of global warming, says the BBC's James Coomarasamy in Washington.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had asked Mr Obama to reverse the Bush administration's insistence on a single, national standard.

California wants a 30% reduction in motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by 2016, achieved by improving fuel efficiency standards.

President Obama also ordered the transportation department to come up with new short-term rules on how carmakers can improve fuel efficiency.

A 2007 law required that new cars and trucks produced by 2020 obtain 35 miles per gallon of fuel (about 15km/litre). However, then-President George W Bush did not put in place the regulations to enable the law to be carried out. Car exhaust is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions

The new rules Mr Obama wants to put in place would mean the new standard is reached by 2011, the New York Times said.

The president also announced plans to make all federal government buildings more energy efficient, and pledged to cut families' energy bills by "weatherising" 2.5 million homes.

He also said the US would double its capacity for "green" energy generation, from sources such as wind, sun, and biofuels, over the next three years."