Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Yes We Can!
What a momentous day for America and the world. I stood in a packed bar last night and watched with bated breath, hardly daring to believe that Obama might take it. In my heart of hearts I hoped, but didn't want to utter my confidence in him, lest it jinx his chances. Remarkably, and perhaps predictably, he won, making history.
I couldn't help but feel a little pride. I'm not eligible to vote yet, but I experienced the same hope, anxiety and ultimate elation as those supporters in the bar with me. Fellow South Africans, Brendan and Lee-Anne were there and the significance wasn't lost on us: we witnessed the rise of South Africa's first black president and now, 14 years later, were thousands of miles away, watching the acceptance speech of the USA's first African American president elect.
Obama's words brought tears to my eyes. It was the stuff of legend, as powerful as the great orators of the past - King, Kennedy, Churchill. I thought, for the first time, how those great American flags that dotted the 100,000 strong crowd in Chicago, could once again be a symbol of promise, hope and pride. Something to believe in.
People often ask me, as a foreigner, how I find it here. Right now, I must admit that it's a wonderful, exciting country to live in. Sure, it has it's problems and numerous challenges. The next few years could be the hardest any of us have lived through. But who better to unite a country and lead us towards a brighter future.
To new beginnings and daring to dream...