Awash in the Afterglow

I’m still in the euphoric afterglow of Obama’s victory. I suspect many of us are. I’m looking forward to the stories we’ll hear from around the world about this. It’s more healing internationally than I suspect Americans can possibly imagine.

In its most flippant terms? I believe this vote means American college kids can stop sewing Canadian flags on their backpacks to travel in Europe. I mean, fuck, during Bush’s reign there have been companies selling “Canadian” kits with our anthem, passport covers, and more, for Americans wanting to “lay low” abroad.

That’s because we’ve all been living under a cloud of What The Fuck? since Bush got elected.

Obama, though, represents everything awesome about America. He’s a throwback to the American leaders who so squarely defined America as the defender of ideals, the protector of its people, and the chief negotiator on the world stage. He’s a reminder of what presidents were — we remember what JFK and FDR did for the country, and this guy, he’s running on bringing that kind of politicking back to the national stage but with a modern twist. FDR never had the internet to inspire or unite his electorate with, after all.

He reminds us of the America that has set the pace for the entire world for a century. He makes it seem like, after a few decades of interruption, America has remembered who it is again.

The world wants a strong, powerful, forward-thinking, revolutionary, idea-making, problem-solving America to stand up and lead the world again. Who were we going to turn to under Bush? India? China? Russia? France? Fuck, no.

But America did what none of us expected it could do: It elected a black man president. Suddenly whole generations have been reduced in tears. Thank God almighty, free at last. The shackles of 230 years of blacks in America have been hurtled against the wall, even if this wasn’t an election about race, but rather about a man.

Obama’s not “a black man”. He’s a brilliant adjudicator and policy-maker who was editor of the Harvard Law Review, who electrifies crowds of more than 100,000 while being articulate and thinking in big terms, who’s a loving husband and father and lives a moral life by example, who exemplifies calm and cool in the most intense crises seen in the better part of a century, who just happens to be a little bit black.

Is racism over? No. Will it ever be? Probably not. In grade 5 we insult each other because of gaps in our teeth, wearing the wrong kinds of clothes, not having cool enough belongings. We are, at heart, competitive and intolerant people at times. We can be petty. We can be small. That’s who we are, the world over. Ignorance doesn’t have just one citizenship. Despite all that, sometimes we overcome ourselves and do the right thing.

Like electing someone like Obama with a mandate that leaves modern political observers in breathless awe. Change ain’t just coming, people; with a mandate like that, it’s inevitable and you can’t hide from it no more.

We’re proud of you, America. The world approves. The world rejoices. The world thinks you got this one right. Good on you. Good for us all.

Shit, now I want to listen to Sam Cooke. A change is gonna come. Yes, it will.

PS: On a personal note, I’m thrilled I’ll probably be able to write far fewer political rants in the coming years. Eight years of being pissed off and indignant have been enough, thanks. And I’d like to extend my condolences to all the comedians who will no longer have Bush and Cheney to poke fun at anymore, and will now have to actually look for humour in the world. Good luck with that.