The title is usually the last thing I add to a post and in many cases the most difficult. Not this one though. As I lay awake this morning, charged but weary from 7 hours of television I had endured, I scribbled down about a dozen potential blog titles. ‘No country for old men’, ‘Choosing hope over fear’, ‘A brave new world’. None though I felt more fitting than the title of Barack Obama’s second book ‘The Audacity of Hope’. Because, as the states were tallied up last night and the magnitude of the Obama win became clear, there was no need for gloating – such as I expect the Republican voters would have revelled in – just a quiet realisation of the magnitude of the accomplishment that had come to fruition.
Obama’s speech had a long list of thanks, with a particularly touching and heartfelt address to Senator McCain.
“He [McCain] fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead”
. . . which was received with applause by the watching Democrat crowd and not the endless boo’s the emanated from the bitter Republican gathering at McCain’s speech. Obama then went on to thank Joe Biden, his family and those that voted. However, I feel that Obama might have forgotten to thank perhaps the person most instrumental to his entire victory, George W. Bush.
I feel sure that without 8 years of a president leading a country into war, economic crisis and international hatred, this key moment in World history would have never taken place in such a dramatic and revolutionary fashion. With Gore or Kerry elected, perhaps many of the atrocities of the Bush administration would have been avoided and we wouldn’t find ourselves in the current predicament of international religious hate. However, after either candidate ran their term I am certain that sooner or later the Republicans would have re-entered the White House and America would have continued, all be it more slowly, in the direction of self-immolation that they have so fervently struck a match to over the past 8 years.
Now though, with an unimaginably large percentage victory and substantial gains in the senate, the Democratic Party, led by Barack Obama, can lead America in the direction that every educated man and woman has been able to imagine but not see.
The battle may be won but the war is far from over.
Obama has inherited a so called ‘poisoned chalice’ of a government, but remains undaunted. “The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.”
He bears this cross with dignity and, so far removed from George Bush, I see the conviction of a man who wants to lead a United States into a united world. In his speech he addressed “those watching from beyond our shores” stating that “our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared”.
While Obama has engaged the interests of the world in a way that no president before him has ever done, perhaps his biggest challenge is at home.
Despite this monumental victory, America is still a nation that is shapely divided and although that divide is closing and the intolerance shrinking, there will still be a large number of people deeply unhappy with yesterday’s decision. Barack Obama has embraced these individuals of Republican persuasion, “And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.” But I fear that this plea may fall on the deaf ears of many, unwilling to help.
Even before he was elected, one assassination plot against Obama was foiled. We can only pray that those unwilling to be a part of this new world will not consider the ‘audacity of hope’ too audacious and resort to despicable methods to regain the unworthy power they were stripped of.
Even if they do though, this is no matter, because in his final words – words that could have been mouthed by Martin Luther King himself, a man who so many years ago sewed the seed for this political revolution – I witnessed the powerful oration of an individual who, despite being confronted by a planet riddled with death, destruction, poverty, famine, racism and almost endless sadness, rose through it all, against all odds and said YES WE CAN!
It is a brave new world . . . and one I am, for once, proud to be a part of.