I woke up this morning to hear the news, first from my American girlfriend and then on the BBC News; Barack Obama is the next President of the United States. This is good news in so many ways and not just for Americans but for the world.
Congratulations are due to Barack Obama on his victory and commiserations to John McCain for his incredibly sincere and gracious concession speech.
The most flaunted fact about Mr. Obama’s election is that he’s America’s first black president and that’s a positive change in the U.S. political landscape.
Secondly he’s been called a socialist. Although there’s been a huge smear campaign against anything containing the word social across the pond, this means that either Americans don’t believe that, or that they don’t care and that they embrace a more socialist tilt to their new world.
For us Brits, we can breathe a sigh of relief that our closest ally has a great opportunity to change from being an international pariah to a nation we can again be proud to be associated with.
Europeans too, I expect, will be pleased with the Obama victory. France & Germany will be the loudest proponents but all 50 European nations will be waking up to this as good news. On our eastern borders Russia will be pleased it doesn’t have to deal with a President with cold war credentials.
More importantly this could mean the end of the policies of deeply negative campaigning and the selection of bizarre running mates. That nobody booed at Sarah Palin’s name in the Obama speech, but that Obama’s name was booed at McCain’s speech, reflects a difference in behaviour that needs to be fixed.
This is, however, the end of the era of the deeply unpopular George W Bush and the inauguration on 20th January of a leader with intelligence, a conscience and a good attitude.
I also hope the new American leader will be a green leader, cutting Americans thirst for oil & energy, addressing global warming & pollution, preventing environmental degradation and investing in new technology to take his country and the world forward.
I loved the sobriety in Obama’s speech too; I think he realises the enormity of the situation ahead of him and his behaviour tempers the American urge to shout louder than everybody else.
My final note before I go to work is that I bet the stock markets will rise on the news today.
Update, 10:39: The BBC reports Asian stocks up on Obama victory
Update, 23:39: Hmm… FTSE down 2.34%, DOW down 5.05%