Monday, November 10, 2008

Not just another Election...

Below is lengthy but WORTH THE READ. This was an email I rec'd from a family member and was moved by it. I myself didn't realize the impact the election had around the world. Do take the time to read.

I'm sure by now, you have all had your fill of presidential politics but I wanted to share an experience with you that literally transcends words... I'll do my best.

As you all know, I'm a political junkie and after this 21 month extravaganza, I was more than eager to finally see the results. By this point, I really didn't think anything would surprise me on election day. Then again, the actual experience of observing an American election from overseas is something I failed to consider. Perhaps that aspect should have been obvious, but I guess I overlooked its simplicity. Yet, I did have the amazing privilege to witness this event from New Zealand and I doubt that I will ever see anything quite like it again in my life. I watched the coverage with fellow Americans, Canadians, French, German, Swiss, Swedish, Norwegian, Kiwis, Australians, Spanish, South Africans, Irish, English, and Welsh. And those were just the people I talked with. In all honesty, there were probably a couple more nationalities represented at the lodge this past evening.

I know that some of you are not Obama supporters, but I hope that I can communicate this to you in a way that goes beyond Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative. Believe me, regardless of who you voted for, any American would have been astonished by what I saw.

As the electoral map filled in and an Obama victory became evident, the lodge, chalk full of people hailing from no less than four continents, came alive in a way I don't know how to describe. Even now, seven hours later, just trying to find the appropriate words for this email brings tears to my eyes. There was an energy in the room that was nothing less than palpable. When CNN called the election for Obama, well... the room just exploded. Champagne flowed, everyone cheered, people I never met in my life before this evening embraced me as if I were their brother. They rushed over to me just so they might get an American's insight. You would have though they had witnessed their own elections, all of which were somehow as exciting, important, and transformational as this particular one. Perhaps the quote that summed it up best came from a Swiss girl. She simply cried out, "America is back!"

Now, I know what you might be thinking, who cares what a bunch of foreigners think? The fact that most of the world has a love affair with Obama won't help us through this financial crisis, two wars, or any of the other problems facing America. And if that is your thought, you are absolutely right. They can't help us. But that's not the point.

The point is America, in many ways, is still the beacon of light on a hill. In spite of all the things we get wrong, and how damaging those errs can be to the rest of the world, they really do look to the U.S. for leadership and guidance. I've left North America four times, have been living abroad for well over two months, and have met people from every corner of the world, yet I couldn't grasp that concept in its entirety until this evening. The only other time in my short life that I've experienced any emotion on this level was when I walked into my fourth period French class on 9/11/01 and realized what had happened to my country. Thankfully, this time the experience represented the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. Words like 'hope' and 'change' became a seemingly relentless mantra in this campaign. I never gave them much credence, but rather passed them off as the regular political banter we see every four years. But I tell you from the heart, I've never felt hope like I do now and I think the requisite change is very much on the way.

In short, I've never been so proud to be an American and I've never been so eager to take on the responsibility that comes with it. I read what I've written about thirty times over so far in the hopes that I might be able to better describe this momentous event, but I just don't possess the words. However, I hope my message comes across and I hope that you are all able, in some way, to appreciate and embrace the decision America made today as well as the impact it will have on the rest of the world. I hope we can all live up to what it means to be an American. Whether you think Obama's election is a direct victory for the people or if you think it will inspire the Republican party to reinvent itself so it may finally fulfill the promises made in 1994, change is coming tomorrow and I have no doubt we'll all be better off for it.


  1. Thanks for this insight, it is great to read an American's opinion of this victory. I have been to America many times, and I can't wait to go back. Great places, great people. I also studied American politics (mostly Reagan's and Bush Senior's era) in Uni. I agree with a lot of what you say. However I must say that from my perspective, and the people that I discuss this with, we do not look to the US for leadership and guidance, nor do we want our government to do this. We are interested in this election ( and American news in general) for 2 main reasons: 1) American economic and foreign policy has a huge impact on the situation in other countries whether we like it or not. Especially smaller countries. 2)We are outward looking people, interested in world travel and what's going on elsewhere. I might add that the third reason I was interested (and I'm sure it's the same for so many others) is that I like Obama and his policies and was so eager for him to win. I'm sure he can bring America back into favour with the rest of the world. There is a very positive feeling in the media and in general about Obama's election.

  2. Shibuya....
    Your point is well taken. Thank you for your insight too.