As I write this morning, the long awaited results for the US elections are coming in fast. Obama, as predicted, is leading McCain by over a hundred electoral votes – which is terrific. Right now, Obama has 207 votes v/s 135 for McCain.
This election got me thinking about a couple of points. Firstly, as we’ve heard endlessly, history is being made. America is ready for change. Barack Obama’s skin colour is important, but not as important as the fact that people are voting anti-Republican. This is an anti-Bush election. Everybody’s had enough. The worsening economy and the administration’s handling of the financial crisis was the last nail in the coffin. The Elephants need to go.
It’s somewhat like what we tend to do in India. Our votes are very rarely for someone. It’s usually anti-others. We’ll vote Congress not because we think they’ll be good for our constituency or nation, but because the option of having the BJP in power terrifies us. Any third party in the running is negligible. In frustration, I often vote for the Independents, but that is neither here nor there because these loners join hands with the enemy and defeat the purpose of being Independent in the first place.
Anyway, anti-Bush or not, this election will hopefully change the way the US looks at race. Reports from the Middle East and across the world are welcoming a new black president who thinks differently from the Bush/McCain camp. World Peace might not be possible in our lifetime, but the first whiffs of it are spreading with the euphoria of election night.
Secondly, I marvelled at the order of the voting process. People voted without coercion or violence. A sense of euphoria, excitement and anticipation washed over the US and touched us all. Isn’t this is what democracy is all about – the power of the ordinary person to influence your country’s leadership? Whether the leadership lives up to the hype is another matter altogether. For now, let us exult in the fact that a glass ceiling has been broken and new voices will ride in on the wings of change.
Maybe in four or eight years time, the country might be brave enough to vote for a woman president.