Yesterday I was humbled by my country. Today I am humbled by the world.
I have watched with amazement as the world has watched this election. Why, I wondered, does the world seem to be waiting with bated breath for the outcome of a presidential election in a country not their own? Is it because Bush has been so detrimental to the world as a whole?
However, I was astounded by the seemingly prevalent reason for interest: hope.
Astonishingly enough, it seems that what I thought to be drivel from my parents and teachers about the ‘American Dream’ is true. The world is fascinated by a country that touts giving power to the people. The world is in love with the notion of freedom, liberty, opportunity, and justice for all. The world is open to the idea of democracy, when they receive proof that it can work, and work in a big way.
The problem has been that we didn’t believe it. We have allowed our apathy, our cynicism, and our forgetfulness to diminish this dream for ourselves and the rest of the world. This week, we revived the dream.
Too long we have been steeped in our patriotic arrogance, rather than remembering our patriotic ideals. Let us remember those ideals in this victory of the people. Let us remember the reason this country became great in the first place.
We are not the presumed leaders of the free world because of military might. We are not harbingers of democracy just because we pay lip service to it. We must lead by example. We must stand for the peace and freedoms of people everywhere if we expect to continue to be the beacon of hope to the world.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
–by Emma Lazarus
Be proud all you want. Be patriotic all you want. Just be sure to remember the reason for the pride and patriotism. To accept the position of leaders of the free world, we cannot afford to forget the responsibility that goes with it.
And to the rest of the world: Thank you for your renewed faith. This week was not just about electing a person of color to a position of power. It was not just about saying no to a regime of fear and hatred. It was about an awakening of the citizenry who decided to finally work together once again, and found their own power in doing so. What you have seen this week is an exercise of the very freedom offered by a society which places emphasis upon an empowered people. This is not just an American ideal, but a world ideal. You have heard our mantra this election season, ‘Yes we can!’ You have seen the outcome. You have watched as we have once again entered the path to personal freedom and responsibility, and I hope you are also listening as we send you the following message, “You can, too!”
Now let’s get to work.
“To all Americans…
You have done a brave and wonderful thing. I hope that President Obama will be able to fulfill most of your hopes for you. No matter what ensues, as a people you have shown the power of your system of governance and you courage.
Congratulations and best wishes for the future.“–Usha George
“I’m drunk – I’m in Glasgow , what else could I be – but the only sensation that can override Deuchars IPA is the elation I feel at this result. To cast aside cynicism and antagonism towards the US – which, as John McCain said in his wonderful concession speech – is the greatest country in the world, is a massive relief.
The planet needs a leader, and it’s not Putin, Brown or Hu Jintao.
I know that expectations are ridiculously and uinachievably high. Obama is 47 years old, he”s black, he’s charismatic and a great orator.
But at least give us – the unemployed, drunk, idiotic and romantic idealists – a few weeks of believing that the human race is capable of better things than what is happening in the Congo, or Somalia, or China.
John McCain is a good, brave man who was unfortunate enough to be advised by idiots and demagogues who misread, as is their wont, the popular mood.
Barack Obama is a charismatic orator with an astonishingly efficient backroom team and an excellent vice-president elect.
I wish him well.
I lost all my money and a hell of a lot more when my business went under last month.
I’m now trying for jobseekers allowance at an age where there are few options open, and surviving by selling my possessions.
I watch this election, and all I think about is my partner , and how she is trying to cope with her own, small, insignificant personal circumstance and how guilty I feel about putting her in this position.
But this victory makes me feel that perhaps there is still a bit of the optimist in me, and perhaps there is hope for the future, personally as well as globally.” –ProfJamesMoriarty
“Ah, yes they can.
He faces an uphill battle with the mess he’s been left with, but thank you americans for taking an election seriously and coming out to vote. You\ve given us all hope.”–bloodydoorsoff
“I saw this elsewhere and couldn’t resist adding it here -
Welcome back America. We’ve missed you.” –beesfan
“Fucking hell, just watched obama’s speech. fucking hell. he’s good. may the none-existent god bless america. it lives up to it’s ideals. and the much maligned and caricatured people of america have shut us all up.” –deadpoetalive
” The world breathes a huge sigh of relief. And wow, his speech didn’t disappoint either. I felt priveleged to witness real history being made. Well worth staying up for.
You can never beat people power!” –natbankofuganda
“I cried. the america i hated four years ago as a supposedly reactionary, racist country and which i have protested against has proven me wrong. i have so much faith in the democratic process and a pluralist social democracy of equality and opportunities. these are hard times, but America has elected a strong leader. no doubt some will be disappointed, but hopefully this represent a permanent shift to a pluralist, progressive and public-spirited society.” –ashsingleton
“Sometimes I wish I was an American, in those moments where they seem to stand apart from us. Their endless optimism and their endless desire for change and movement and history. They make history, where as as an English woman I feel I am just you know in it. I don’t know that much about life, or what it takes to be a successful adult because well I am just a student, full of that optimism and promise and you know I like to watch Jeremy Kyle. I sat up and watched Obama become the 44th American President, I watched Americans cry and I cried and I believed in him and his words and the fact that really, this is going to have an impact on us all and to say that we are not involved is really fruitless.
Sometimes I wish I was an American just so I could be proud and wave a flag and not feel like a loser. I wish that I could hold my flag and say you know what, I want my country to be amazing and I believe we are in many more ways that you will never ever understand and most of all I am proud to be English, I am proud to be British.
But I cannot, not just yet, but maybe one day. We will chant, Yes we can. and I will teach my children to believe that they can do anything and be anything and more over that we are all safe tonight. And we will live to a dream that those Yanks make seem a little less fluffy and at times like these very real.
And Obama, not as an American, not as a British Woman but as a Human has given me that, I fly my human flag and for this moment, live in hope.
Thank you America, and I wish us all a happy and optimistic future!” –Holiver
“this election was not won on charm. unlike kerry, obama and his team did what they needed to to head off voter suppression and vote flipping in the critical states. and unlike gore in 2000 and kerry in 2004, obama worked to make sure that americans could vote and their votes could be counted. this time the voice of the american public came through. americans will work to live up to their obligations and restore their honor, now that the shackles and gags have been removed. when you awaken from a nightmare, your troubles don’t disappear. you’re just awake. it is glorious, and we wish the same awakening for all our brothers and sisters throughout the world.” –norwichvt
“For all the bad things people say about American there are moments in there history where the prove they are the greatest country in the world.” –Derk
“Congratulations, America, I’m truly in envy of your country right now. Oh to be so politically energised, so motivated, so…ready to do something about the world, and not in a Daily Mail, let’s sack all comedians kind of way. Positive energy. I’d almost forgotten humans were capable of it, and I don’t say that with any exaggeration.” –sidewaysantelope
“bloody hell… what a country.. after all these years living here as an ex-pat, 28, I actually want to be an American. It’s 10 pm.. the kids stayed up to watch Obama’s speech… my teen and i just sat there and let out tears flow.. even my 6 yr was moved to tears….
We live on the west coast, Oakland, and outside people are partying, walking the streets, shouting O-Ba-Ma, horns honking people are holding parties and the city feels really alive.. like we’ve just won the world cup and every body gives a shit… what an effing night.. and god bless John McCain.. after listening to his concession speech it suddenly occurred to me that he was working for this outcome all along.. he looked genuinely happy that Obama was elected.. he seemed filled with hope.. he must have known a long time ago that he hadn’t a hope in hell……
eff me …
what a country….
what a country….” –essemd
“Just magical! I was fearing that fear itself would spoil the day, but America’s finest have stood in the face of it and made the right decision. As a Canadian, I know we have long had a sort of love-hate relationship, but today, I love you to the core! Congratulations, and may the mending of relations begin!” –tiko1
“Well done America!
For the first time in their lives I am proud to direct my kids eyes towards the US. Have a good look lads and be inspired.
Does it feel like Christmas to anyone else?” –babasulayman
“Oh happy day!!!! What a result. What a message to the rest of the world of a political process that can work, that can elevate to the highest position a man with all the experience to be a representative, inclusive leader but none of the advantages of being born into the elite. And only 45 years since the end of legal segregation of the races…. Just amazing!” –expat1970
“I am English but living in Portugal and I was drinking champagne at 5 o’clock this morning to celebrate. Thank you, America, for restoring my faith in your great country.” –shemarch
“What strikes me in this is the overwhelming feeling of liberation people are displaying. Its like all those old shots of Europe being liberated from the Nazi’s by the allied troops. Like an occupying army has finally been sent home. It’s both joyous and sad at the same time.
For the first time in a long time I have a little faith in humanity and hope for the future. Notwithstanding the unlikely chance that a deep and lasting change will come of this, the fact that the American people believe that its possible is enough for today.
Congratulations America, enjoy the party tonight, you’ve earned it.” –SubstanceD
“well done america.
the sneer i have felt on my face for the past 8 years when talking to americans about politics is wiped well and truly off my face.
hopefully a new world awaits us” –rushiestash
“This wasn’t a fluke, or a margin to narrow to mean anything. This is an unequivocal victory for optimism, hope and idealism, and a resounding defeat for the naysayers, racists, bigots and hate-mingers. Conservatives, hang your heads in shame.” –uncleal06
“Just remember the Americans were first in everything – read their constitution and its declaration about human rights and the tricolour hat, twenty years before the French had even thought of revolution.
America leads, we trail along behind.
We are all Americans today; long may it last.” –Holiver
“Thank you to all Americans.
It is truly a great victory not just for your country but for the rest of the world.
You have shown that a whole people can vote with their brains, put away century-old prejudices and choose their ruler with a clear and intelligent eye.
It is no small feat and you have all gained a lot of respect from around the world. This is really what will make the USA loved and respected throughout the planet. Not bombs.
I write from a country, Italy, where we are facing a deep crisis, in our minds, first.
Racism, xenohpobia, organised crime, institutional violence, lawlessness, awful ghosts from the past are bringing to us a new form of fascism. Corruption, incompetence, intimidation, the use of public resources and institutions for personal aims have taken hold , while pepople feel that there is no alternative, that we are doomed, that no change is possible.
You are showing us the way forward, that change is possible and we must work towards it.
Thank you and congratulations.” –catonoff
“Not a day for cynicism but a day to rejoice that America has again shown the world that it is a great democracy. I read all the comments, lots of them brought at bit of a tear to the eye, Just one or two were annoyingly bitter. I have no idea how it will all work out but now is not a bad time to stand together and hope (pray too for those that do). In the early evening in Sydney, I’m raising a glass of wine and saying ‘God bless America’. Oh and a second one saying ‘Good Luck Professor Moriarty’” –JeffDerien
“Of course this is primarily a victory for US citizens, where once more you have shown the world that you don’t fit their stereotypes of you, but there is another dimension, whether we like it or not. This is probably the first time for perhaps 400 years that a non-white person has been the most powerful in the world ( I am thinking of Sulieman the Magnificent), and probably the first time since the Hyksos overthrew the previous dynasty in Egypt in 1600 BC that an African has been. If that is not something to celebrate I don’t know what is.
Secondly, although I supported Obama against her, I would also like to Thank Hillary Clinton. By clearly establishing herself as the front-runner in the Democratic Party for so long she also changed the face of politics, and that should also be remembered.
McCain himself, with an adopted daughter from Bangladesh, was clearly post-racist, and the Repubicans by choosing a female VP also helped to smash the glass ceiling still further.
All in all I can only thank US citizens.” –usini
“Thank God, thank Jesus, thank Buddha, thak Allah, thank Mohammed, thank the Wiccan God of nature, thank Santa Claus, the easter bunny and my own personal God – the Loch Ness Monster.
But most of all thank you and God Bless America. You are currently the coolest nation on the planet and may finally live up to that outrageous clain: “We’re number one!” Well, you are today and I salute you.” –Harmonica
“I am so filled with hope today- and I have not felt hope like this for a very long time! I am British and have been praying for this day to finally come. I wasn’t sure if it would after the last election. I think alot of the world wanted Obama to win and I am so happy at the result I can’t stop crying. Yes he has a lot of work to do and he is only human but I think this result was for the highest good.
I feel that this goes some way to healing the world and feel a tinge of excitement about the future, we have a real chance to become a more united world now.
America, thankyou a thousand times for doing the right thing. You have restored my faith in humanity and in America. Can’t wait to see the back of Bush.” –greenmummy
“Congratulations, America. Good luck and all the best to you and President Barack Obama. May you give the world hope again, as once you did.” –TomFynn