Thursday, November 06, 2008


I spent much of the day watching and listening to the BBC's online broadcast of the US election, and celebrated and shed a few tears as Barack Obama became the first black man to be elected president of the USA.

John McCain's concession speech was full of dignity and class.
Obama's speech was inspirational without being over the top.

It is an historic day for America and the world.

It's a very difficult job and America and the rest of the world is in a mess so I don't expect miracles, but I do look forward with optimism to a different style of American leadership.
There are still a staggering number of people quoting lies and rumours about Obama in the vox pops shown on Australian TV tonight, there will be plenty of unhappy conservatives, and not a few stirred up rednecks. I hope they will not drag America back to a past history of hatred and division through violence or murder or worst of all assassination. To McCain's great credit, he did not give any hint of that sort of bitterness even in defeat and gave no license for anyone to do anything other than be open and supportive of the new President.

The most powerful images today reflected on the amazing journey the US has taken in the last 50 years, from inequality and near segregation and racial violence and murder, to today, when Americans overwhelmingly voted for an African American as President.

Obama's speech recounting the things seen in the lifetime of the 106 year old black woman who cast her vote today captured it beautifully.

I have similar feelings to those I felt on the day of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, a sense of pride in the right thing having been done and a barrier broken down after many years of bitter conflict.

May God help the new President. I say this not as a cliche but as an earnest prayer.