Thursday, 6 November 2008
John was woken at 2.30am on Wednesday 5th November by a telephone call from Mary.
"John! He's done it!" said a merrily drunk Mary.
"Who's that? Who's done what?" groaned John.
"Obama is president! It's Mary... it's amazing isn't it?" Mary carried on.
"It's 2.30am in the morning. I was asleep. You've got to be joking." John complained.
"Now don't try and get angry with me, John. This is history. Isn't it great?" Mary enthused.
"I'm going back to sleep Mary."
John put the phone down. Helen, John's wife, has woken up.
"Who was that, John?" asked a crotchety Helen.
"Mary. Obama's won."
"I'll kill her..."
[The names have been changed to protect my friends identities].
I imagine this script may have played out across the UK, if not the world, in the early hours of Tuesday morning [GMT]. My friends John and Helen have not been caught up in the Obamarama thing but Mary clearly has and at the moment the Obamaphiles seem to be everywhere. The hope that has been pinned onto Barack Obama's campaign, and now imminent presidency, is BIG HOPE for BIG CHANGE. I'm afraid some of us our suffering from extreme self-delusion and others are just going to be plain disappointed.
When I woke up on Tuesday morning [6.45am GMT] and turned on the television, there was the news: America elects its first black/mixed race/biracial - [delete as you feel appropriate] president. My wife was happy - emotional even. My 3rd daughter is 'planning to be born' 9 days after Obama's inauguration on 20th January 2009. My mixed race daughter will be born into a world with a mixed race leader of the free world. It would have been churlish not to reflect on this moment and recognise a sense of achievement, but now we need to move on.
Yes, move on. Snap out of it! Wake up! I've always believed in the human potential of all races to achieve at the highest level because I believe in racial equality. A non-white man has reached the highest political office proves in one simple sense what anti-racists have known along: that anything and everything is possible.
Unfortunately Obama's election promises don't fill me with hope: withdrawl from Iraq but puruse the war in Afghanistan with more vigour, being one of them. The hope invested in Obama has a lot to do with America's internalised self-loathing generated during George W. Bush's two terms in office. So, if Americans now feel freer to engage with the world about the best ways forward during these difficult times then we will all be enriched. However, the narrow, illiberal political agenda of the political class prevalent in the West from Barack Obama to Gordon Brown, fills me full of dread. Without any real economic solutions politicians tend to ramp up the control agenda and want to tell us 'how we all have a responsibility to tighten our belts for the good of the economy and the environment'. Ughh!
Reading across the blogosphere, I find libertarian fears described by American Republicans palpable (and entertaining).
"I want all these willing volunteers who are so eager to help Obama achieve his vision to leave me strictly alone. I prefer that they sink into apathy, or go off and get drunk or do drugs. I don't want to be part of Obama's corps of concerned citizens."
Obama's worker bees [Blog: Miriam's Ideas]'Miriam' goes on to describe a less liberal society where Big Brother drones (read former Obama supporters) police her eating habits and gasoline usage. Truly a nightmare. I think we might already be living in it in the UK!
"I don’t need a cult leader and I have no interest in worshipping. Obama represents mob rule and I want no part of his cult of personality. I’m interested in human freedom. I’m interested in less government. I’m interested in choices, rational discussion and education. Where are my people? Where is my party?"
The cult of Obama [Blog: The will to exist]
For more in depth analysis, I regularly read spiked. Frank Furedi's article Obama and the fall of ‘the silent majority’, Brendan O'Neill's Voting for Obama: a badge of superiority? and The morning after History was made by Sean Collins raise serious questions about the real trends underlying Barack Obama's victory.
For a humorous take on what the young, and unemployed, Obamaphiles are going to do now the campaign is over, watch this clip from The Onion:
Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are