Change

It seems like an age since I’ve sat down to write anything of consequence for this blog, if it could be argued that I’ve ever posted anything of consequence anyway. The truth is that for the best part of the last month I’ve been completely engrossed by the US Presidential elections,and it seems that I’m not alone.

So instead of typing up the things that have annoyed, amazed or inspired me when I’ve had a spare moment I’ve been wandering over to Daily Kos to read the absolute latest story or diary, seeking out campaign related stuff on youtube and making a daily ritual of watching Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

I always love elections and, as Scott pointed out in his post at Grods, elections don’t come much bigger or more interesting than the US Presidential poll. But even taking that into account I find myself engaged to a degree far beyond 2000 and 2004 and I can only put that down to one thing, Barack Obama.

I think that the apology to the Stolen Generation here in Australia made the point that symbolism matters, so it is simply impossible to ignore the impact that an Obama Presidency will have on the national psyche of the USA. Comments made by black voters of this being an election that they have ‘been waiting 400 years for’ really emphasises how much people have invested in this candidate. However, I think that there’s more to Obama than his African parentage.

Obama is an unashamedly intellectual, progressive candidate, a far cry from President Bush or the McCain / Palin ticket and I wonder if the mood of the USA is changing as it seemed to here in Australia last year. Hugh Mackay’s 2007 book, Advance Australia… Where?, made the case that we as a nation have been ‘sleeping’ through the last decade, disengaging from politics and our broader communities, but that we are beginning to reconnect. There seems to be a desire to build communities by lifting everyone up, and I think that Obama has tapped into this message and is amplifying it back to his supporters.

I’ve watched videos of some of Obama’s campaign rallies and his performance and rhetoric are electrifying, I simply can’t imagine how the people attending must feel during his speech. His campaign’s motto, “Respect. Empower. Include.” sends a powerful message and has been a framework for the thousands of volunteers throughout the USA. The potential for this theme to continue into the White House is tantalising, especially in the face of the bitterness and hate which has been substituted for policy by the political right in the last decade.

I think that part of Australia’s fascination with the US election this year is that Barack Obama is the leader a lot of us hoped Kevin Rudd would turn out to be, and perhaps if Obama can bring a strong progressive agenda to the most prominent foreign power in our minds we may see a genuine progressive shift in our own nation’s politics. I think that is a ‘Change we need’.

11 thoughts on “Change

  1. Nah, Dave, wrong this time.

    The GOP are not interested in winning. It’s clear as mud, they’re throwing this one, big time. It’s all about the financial mess they’re responsible for, and their reluctance accept responsibility and clean up the c–p.

  2. I don’t think they want to lose jr, the Republican party may have proved that it’s policies and ideals are completely unsuited to effective government, but they don’t care. The Republican party sends out the message that governments are part of the problem in your life, not the solution, so their complete and utter failure just reinforces their message.

    The reality in politics is that there really is no such thing as ‘a good one to lose’.

  3. ” … if it could be argued that I’ve ever posted anything of consequence anyway”

    Oh I don’t know, what about the Space Pen post? That was pretty good.

  4. Ray has a unique way of destroying a serious thread. Is he aware of his brilliance or is he simply just a d*ckhead. 😉
    Now … back on topic …

    I believe your final paragraph is right on target.

    I think that part of Australia’s fascination with the US election this year is that Barack Obama is the leader a lot of us hoped Kevin Rudd would turn out to be, and perhaps if Obama can bring a strong progressive agenda to the most prominent foreign power in our minds we may see a genuine progressive shift in our own nation’s politics. I think that is a ‘Change we need’.

    The world has largely discarded the neo-conservative politics of the Bush/Howard era and is in search of politics of hope. Kevin Rudd offered it in Australia and now Obama is offering the same in America.

    Kevin Rudd can still be the leader we hoped he would be if he has good leadership with Obama in Washington. The problem might be in Rudd becoming the deputy sherrif with them both believing their own propaganda like Bush and Howard.

  5. Yeah, you’re right, Dave. It’s not just that Obama is black, but his message – one that steers clear of war rhetoric and “either you’re with us or against us” – is refreshing. At last there’s more focus on the war at home, rather than abroad, such as the failing economy, poverty, lack of health cover etc.

    I’ve long believed that America need to focus on their problems — and there are many — at home before they start trying to spread their watered-down version of “democracy” overseas.

  6. I find the problem with certain websites, including the ones that you have referenced, is that they preach to the converted. I find that a study of the mainstream media is a better indication of the direction of the election. Although not quite mainsteam and hardly nonpartisan, politico.com is a good source of up-to-date discussions and more insightful than the regular stories interpreting national polls.

  7. Change? You want change, Dave? Come over here then. I had a brain-snap this morning and now I find myself in yet another council election.

    I don’t know what happened, I think I drank too much the night before, mulling over it.

    Anyway, I’m ‘fair game’ now.

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