Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama : the Green Victory of Common Sense.

Everybody calls it a "historic" win and that's what it is. French newspaper Le Monde called it a "9/11 in reverse". (Un 11 septembre à l'envers).

The congratulations from the French president were warmer than the usual polite note :

French President Nicolas Sarkozy led European congratulations to Barack Obama, hailing his "brilliant victory" in winning the White House.
Amid hopes of a fresh EU-US relationship under a new leadership in Washington, President Sarkozy said president-elect Obama's victory raised great hopes across Europe in the midst of major global challenges. (PA)
On a more personal level, it is going to make my life as a teacher of American English, a lot easier. After the lowest point of 2003 (during which I must say, I remained a faithful defender of the American people against the flow of anti-Americanism that swept the world and Europe), there is a sense of relief. This election justifies everything I've believed in when it comes to the U.S.

President-elect Obama (oh, sweet words) said best :
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. (text)

It is also going to be a lot easier for Americans to travel and live in the world.

As Asia Times put it well:
Finally, after eight years of insult, embarrassment and shame - it is once again cool to be an American living abroad. The George W Bush debacle is mercifully over, and it doesn't matter if you are black, white or otherwise. Suddenly, you're cool. Your accent is cool, your mixed heritage is even cooler and your willingness to embrace that larger world outside the borders of the United States is cooler still. What a difference a presidential election can make.

Ironically, now that the verdict is so convincingly in, most non-Americans look on in admiration and wonder because they know that their countries are not capable of a political and social feat of this magnitude: electing a member of what had been an enslaved minority to the highest office in the land.

The Obama victory parties are now sweeping over Asia and spanning the world - and the interesting thing is that it's not just overseas Americans who are celebrating. Indeed, in many places it is non-Americans who are leading out. Arguably, for the first time, we have a president of the world.
Ironically, even if the situation in Europe is historically very different, it seems that the U.S. is teaching the rest of the world a lesson - that's how some French blacks see it anyway.

However, Obama was not elected BECAUSE or IN SPITE of being black but simply because he was better.

Obama won the votes of more white men than the last five Democratic presidential nominees, according to a National Journal study of exit polls -- and nearly half of white independents. (LATimes).
Racial antagonism still exists. But with Obama's victory, voters showed that such feelings no longer hovered over American politics as they had for decades.

"The important question was not black or white but green. That is, who was best to handle the economy," said Peter A. Brown, associate director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.


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