Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Woken Up to a New World Leader-Elect

Chicago Right Now by Anthea Behm

It was ambitious of me to go to bed early last night. I was like a kid waiting for my Chrissy stash. For the sake of any future memory loss ('hi old me!'): it was the US presidential elections last night (UK time). Obama was declared victorious at around 11pm his time, 4am mine. I could hear lots of chat and laughter from the College bar throughout the night while I tossed and turned in bed. I was very tempted to throw on my dressing gown and walk on over, but I decided yesterday (of all days) to break my habit of late night bursts of energy, groggy mornings and jumpy, adrenaliny days.

It's all very exciting though. These elections have been squarely in the background of my life and everyone else's (my friends, family, fellow bloggers, international journalists etc) for at least a few months now.

On Monday night a few of us sat around after College dinner discussing a range of things from whether Australians, by nature, slightly distrust charisma in politicians (in this case Obama*), whether a black man is a more respectable form of authority than a white woman (offered up by a Hillary fan) to what reached almost complete consenus: just how deflating and stifling it would be if McCain and Palin won, and Obama and Biden lost. It would pretty much mean (or have meant!) that articulacy, intelligence, compassion and newness are just too scary. (I say 'almost' because we had a devoted Republican and huge McCain fan among us.)

*The Boy says that the Brits were similarly suspicious when Blair was first on the scene, but now expect a bit of the dazzle.

Chicago Right Now by Anthea Behm

Going off Facebook data, nearly all of my friends, especially my Merican ones, are jubilant. One Oxford pal said she will now be able to return home, her faith in her country renewed. I spotted one student say in a 'comment' that she was sad as a McCain fan but did not feel comfortable expressing her disappointment 'in these parts'. Some - mostly non-Americans - are curious, wary or even cynical about the nature of this promised 'Change' and are waiting to see how it all plays out once the god-like posters are put away. I feel positive, and definitely more curious than cautious, which is good.

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