Tuesday, 4 November 2008

If I could vote in the US today...

Whenever I had a break yesterday, I watched a snippet of Barack Obama's campaign advert. It's 30 minutes long and I just didn't have a 30 minute chunk of time in my day. But I did have time for five minute snippets.
And I'm so glad I did.

What really impressed me was that he appeared to have a real understanding about what ordinary people are experiencing, and he seems to be coming up with measured, logical solutions to the problems rather that a whole lot of mud slinging and rhetoric.

If I were dictator of this country, I'd make all our politicians watch this just so they could see what a real statesman sounds like.

Time will tell if he lives up to his promise and his promises, and after today we'll know if he'll be given the chance.

One thing I did pick up on was that he only spent time with his Kenyan father once, for a month. I wonder if that will make him as inclined to be pro-African as so many people on this continent are hoping. When I was in Uganda a couple of months ago, people were coming in off the street at 4 in the morning to watch the first presidential debate. (I know because I was waiting for a shuttle to the airport for an early flight). Obama's candidacy is bringing new hope and new pride to Africans. Lets hope he'll continue to set a great example.

Here's the video. Do yourself a favour and watch it (for those like me who don't have great bandwidth, click pause instead of play and let it load in the background before you try to watch it. Otherwise the "buffering buffering" could drive you to drink).

thanks to Julochka for posting it on her great blog where I found it.

2 comments:

julochka said...

hi lynne--thank you for the link! it's such an important day and i hardly dare watch (not that anything's happening as far as returns go in my current time zone (12-15 hours off the US at the moment). keeping fingers and toes crossed!!!

:-)
/julie

Skoorby said...

Living in the U.S., we have been thoroughly exposed, or overexposed to both candidates over the past 6 months. But somehow Obama has continued to be worth watching and worth listening to. If he wins today, I look forward to having a president with something substantive to say. This after eight years of a president whose statements are an indication only of what he wants people to believe.
I'm a little concerned about the expectations that people around the world have for Obama. As president of the USA, not the world, he would be likely to fall short of the expectations. He will of course, always act in what he sees as being in the best interests of the United Sates. The half of the US population that did not vote for him will be looking keenly for signs that he is after all "foreign" or Muslim or subversive in some way, not to mention the Christian radicals who have convinced themselves that his coming precedes the Armageddon.
If he is better for Africa, it will be i) because his view of U.S. interests includes African social and economic development (it does, in contrast to Bush's or probably McCain's) ii) because his personal lineage and following will give him powers of moral suasion not normally enjoyed by U.S. presidents and iii) because he will be likely to continue and improve on what may be Bush's only positive legacy - the efforts to counter AIDS.
Those are certainly important factors, but they will be improvements at the margin. I think we're in for a typical U-shaped curve of high initial approval, followed by disillusionment as reality constrains, followed by a steady building of approval following lowered expectations.
Actually, I think we're all in for that sort of pattern if he wins. Expectations here in the U.S. are also impossibly high.