OBAMA's ELECTION: Suddenly, the world seems a better and safer place
PUBLISHED: 10:37 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:34 07 September 2010
THE 21ST Century is in its infancy but already we have seen as never before how events in America make their way across the Atlantic with inexorable speed. The destruction of the Twin Towers became our war on terror as much as America s. Economic calamit
THE 21ST Century is in its infancy but already we have seen as never before how events in America make their way across the Atlantic with inexorable speed.
The destruction of the Twin Towers became our war on terror as much as America's. Economic calamities in the American housing market and on Wall Street were lapping at these shores within a few short and painful weeks.
So what does the election of Barack Hussein Obama in the early hours of this morning mean for us?
Rarely in politics these days does anything put a smile on our faces, but Obama's election has instantly made the world seem better - and safer. Any doubts that Americans would elect their first black president now seem ridiculous, such was the overwhelming support shown from sea to shining sea for this inspirational young man.
Not since the Kennedy era has one man carried such a burden of expectancy: it is not just America that now waits with bated breath to see what Obama's 'change' really means. A world that was plunged into chaos by 9/11, hopes and believes that his election may signal the end of the type of adventurism which, under the Bush regime, served to isolate America from the rest of the world and saw it react to international criticism by flexing its military muscles and behaving like the neighbourhood bully wherever it ventured.
How Obama redefines American foreign policy will be perhaps the most significant factor of all for people from outside America, but it is interesting that voters in the US were forced to look more and more inwardly as they pondered their choice.
At the outset of the campaign, with American attention still very much focused on the war in Iraq, Republican rival John McCain, himself Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war seemed to have the upper hand. But as the harsh realities of economic recession hit home, it was the young Obama who seemed to have the surer touch.
And pundits who say that his election was as much an anti-Bush statement as it was an endorsement of his candidacy are guilty of under-estimating the brilliance of this evangelical young politician who didn't put a foot wrong in the entire campaign and by doing so, spread hope in a time of despair.
His election now begs the question: how long before we in the UK, the mother of all democracies, elects a black or even ethnic Prime Minister? It didn't happen last century, or the one before. Will it happen in our lifetimes?
It seems unlikely, in the absence of any obvious candidate. But Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, came from nowhere in the blink of an eye to become leader of the world's most powerful country. The right person, at the right time, looking to do 'the right thing' can change things in ways we can only imagine.