Thursday, 6 November 2008

America's joy

This morning Susan and I sat in bed at 7am watching news of Barack Obama’s historic win in the United States Presidential election with tears in our eyes as he attributed his victory to those who believed when other doubted, who began his campaign for office, not in Washington but as he said himself, with such elegance, on porches in Virginia, doorsteps in Iowa and in the homes of thousands across America.

Here I am in Lenton pre-occupied most of the time with all things local who, at the end of every blog, gives a nod in the direction of the wider world. What makes Obama so exciting and different to any other politician I can think of, is that he recognises the importance of ordinary people and communities, who live their lives a world away from Washington or global affairs. That it is not to say that they are uninterested. I believe the reverse to be true.

I follow a blog posted by a Democrat living in a small town called Dryden in upper New York State, close to a large university town. In the last year or so he’s gone domestic. He and his wife now have a baby and chickens, but he continues to provide an insight into American life away from the big cities. I know from emails I exchange with a friend, who lives in nearby Ithaca that Obama won the support of local Democrats in the primaries, right here in Hiliary Clinton’s backyard.

In the early days of the primaries I could not choose between Clinton or Obama. Either, assuming they won, would represent momentous change for America, but what my friend told me about Obama made me appreciate just how different he was and I thought she should know, as she has a son, who has been part of Obama’s backroom team as an energy adviser.

As avid fans of West Wing, Susan and I have been watching the re-run on More-4 TV and Senator Santos has just made his first appearance. We know what to expect. We have seen it all before, but we can’t remember the detail. When we first watched West Wing we thought ‘if only…’ and this morning the fairy tail has become a reality.

Millions around the world will be blogging today about Obama’s victory and what it means for America and, yes, us here in Lenton, in inner-city Nottingham. Of one thing I am sure, from today we are much closer than we have ever been before in so many ways.

Americans placed their faith in Barack Obama today, overcoming a past of slavery and segregation, and electing the first African-American to the US presidency.

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