Shortly after Barack Obama was declared the winner of Tuesday’s US Presidential elections I was reminded of something Winston Churchill once said. “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”
Never before have I seen so much interest in a US Presidential election here in the UK. The day after Obama’s win the national press went positively Obamy, carrying full front-page pictures of Obama with coverage of the US election going several pages deep into the newspapers. If you were judging by press coverage alone, you might have been forgiven for thinking that the UK had at some point become the 51st state.
Here, and I suspect across much of the world, there is something of a sense of relief that the Bush years will soon be behind us. After a local firework display celebrating ‘Guy Fawkes night,’ one of my neighbors spoke to me about Obama’s win with a broad smile. “I stayed up late to watch the election. Wasn’t it wonderful that he won.” She told me.
People who perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily be keen followers of American politics, all seemed to have an opinion. I stayed up until 7am to watch the coverage with friends, and across the UK others were holding their own US election night parties!
The President of the United States is undeniably one of the most influential people on the planet and after 8 years of the most inept and downright embarrassing President in modern times, Barack Obama will surely bring to an end the air of Presiduncy that seems to currently define the office for which he has fought so hard to gain.
Addressing the vast crowd gathered in Chicago’s Grant Park to listen to his victory speech Obama delivered a rousing yet sobering message. “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.”
America has elected its first ever black President, and for the first time in my life, I think I might actually believe the words of a politician.