Tuesday, 4 November 2008

My inner Obama

Tonight I’m getting in touch with my inner Obama. My side came back from three goals down with five minutes to go to grab a draw in football earlier this evening, after calling on a bit of that ‘Yes we can’ spirit to defy the odds. I’m assuming John McCain won’t do something similar in the US election, so I’m settling in to savour the most positive political development of the 21st century to date.

Of course there are 101 things I could come up with to diminish the occasion. Obama’s no socialist, no matter what the Republican right may think. I’ve no doubt he’ll leave the major power structures of US society, and the inequality and injustice that go along with them, largely unchallenged and intact. I dare say he’ll disappoint over some of what might be considered touchstone issues. And I suspect he’ll sell the pass on occasion when we’re looking for firm leadership to take a stand.

But no one who has cast half an eye towards the United States over past months can have missed the mood that has accompanied the ascent of the man who will now surely become the country’s first black president. People who never vote, people who are disenfranchised, people who are excluded and unrepresented have been mobilised in their millions in a way that hasn’t happened in two generations. No one else – certainly not the US left or other alternative political movements – has had anything like the impact. If not Obama, then what? Quite simply, this is the best – the only – chance of change we have had in decades.

It’s not just a matter of what Obama himself will do, important though that undoubtedly is. It’s a matter of the dynamic he creates, the opportunities that are opened up, the direction the US is moving in. The old leftist slogan that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government still gets in has never been closer to the truth than in the US, where the division between Republican and Democrat has sometimes seemed so narrow as to defy definition. But the 2000 election should have put an end to that illusion for good. Who can doubt that the world would now be a different, safer place had Al Gore’s ‘stolen’ victory been upheld in court and George Bush and the neocons not been unleashed upon the world?

So the champagne is on ice ready for that ‘Yes he has’ moment. Plenty of time for the provisos and reservations later.

1 comment:

dave simpson said...

anyone but bush is worth champagne all night long - cheers!