So it finally happened. Even though it was a fait accompli since March 5th, at long last, tonigh, Barack Obama finally secured the necessary delegates to claim the US Democratic presidential nomination.
Now that the long process is finally, finally over, I think it’s a good time to reflect on the last few months.
Waay back in 2005, I think, or early 2006, I read an article about this man, Barack Obama, who had wowed the audience at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He was immediately captivating. The more I learned about this man, the more I was impressed with him. More than anything, it was his graciousness that impressed me. He held appealing positions on a range of issues, but it was his capacity to admit his own error, to carefully consider the opinions of both collegues and opponents, to willingly consider positions other than his own that won him a place in my affections.
I remember watching Gilmore Girls back in late 2006, when Rory talked about interviewing Barack Obama and seeing the twinkle in his eye when she asked about his presidential campaign. I was so excited, because at that point Hillary was very much the presumptive nominee, and Obama was this fringe candidate I liked. But he made his way into the popular media, his narrative became stronger.
Through this campaign, I learned a lot. I discovered The Atlantic, which is now my favourite magazine. Andrew Sullivan’s magnificent article, “Why Obama Matters”, re-inspired me as a writer.
I was lucky enough to be in the US on the day of the Iowa primary. In the days leading up to it, popular wisdom was that he couldn’t win it. But he did.
It’s been a long road. A lot has happened in the last five months. But the more I’ve learned of Obama, and the more I’ve come to understand American politics, the more hopeful I’ve become that this is a moment of real change.
Because we need to change. The world needs to change. We’ve done some terrible things recently, and they need to stop. We need to eliminate biofuels. We need real action on Climate Change. We need to increase third world aid, truly embrace the International Criminal Court, build up the UN, end the war in Iraq, take action in Sudan. Americans need to fix their financial problems, because the implications of an American recession are global.
Will Obama do all this? I doubt it. But he will start it. I have faith that he will start to make the changes we need. Because, like it or not, what happens in the US affects us all.
So I’ll proudly don my button today and cheer “Yes We Can”. Because this, really, is change I believe in.