Saturday, January 05, 2008

If Iowa sneezes…

If the rest of the country catches a cold it is more likely to be the result of the buckets of cold water thrown over them. The result must be seen as little more than symbolic, at best, but what a symbol.

The 2006 mid-terms were concrete in signalling the country’s growing disenchantment with the Republicans. Americans dealt the conservatives a savage blow and there has been no sign since of any recovery from that. This is a Democrat battle.

For us non-US citizens, at least those who might care, the prospect of an Obama win is a very satisfying choice. I should add that it has nothing to do with being black and everything to do with his language.

Obama is an internationalist. Much has been made of his Kenyan father, his schooling in Indonesia and other potentially un-American activities. His talk is inclusive, not just of America, but the world.

His strength for us could well be his Achilles heel the bulk of Americans. He will not be an isolationist President and that could put fear into an already insecure electorate. My countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain are comfortable with being part of a wider world; that is not widely the case in the US.

I cannot vote in any aspect of choosing the ‘leader of the western world’ regardless of the effect it has on my life. I can only push the value of an outward looking ‘world view’, the sort of attitude which comes with Obama.

Sure he will have ‘feet of clay’, he will go down some wrong alleys, he will make mistakes. He will be facing a worsening economy, something I am currently researching but have held back so the positives of this moment can be enjoyed. But I believe from his language that he will work to find inclusive solutions.

Congratulation America! Early days but you need some positive signs and this is wonderfully positive.

4 comments:

D.K. Raed said...

You are so right that this was just the kind of positive sign we have been looking for. It's been a long cold lonely 7-yrs & we are ready for change. I salute Obama & still feel excellent about Edwards (who has the better health care plan & environmental message & is itching to wrest govt control out of big corpo hands so is thus probably not electable). As shows go, this was a pretty good one, even for realists. Onward to New Hampshire!

Cartledge said...

It is going to be a long, and exciting year. The sands are going to shift all over the shop. Now that is a clumsy metaphor, but you get the idea.
I predict it is going to be an incredible show, collectively, this has been a good start to that.
But I'm still not willing to tip too much just yet. Stay positive though, it is the only direction.

abi said...

Cartledge, that's a good point about Obama's internationalist perspective. I'm sure the world would find that a very welcome change. I'm not sure how many Americans even noticed it, though (like myself), or welcome it if they did.

Cartledge said...

I hope I did misjudge the level isolationism in the US. I know people like you have a broader view of the world, but there has been a more general trend to draw back into the shell. I accept your take on this, which makes it harder to sustain attacks on Obama on that point.