Taylor Owen on the Obama victory

2008-11-10

in Politics

Taylor Owen has written a thoughtful post on the Obama election, as seen by a politically aware Canadian. His personal account of the victory and immediate aftermath seems intelligent and grounded:

So all of this makes my reaction to his win all the more odd. The night was emotional, certainly. The weight and responsibility, the fear even, that was clear in his acceptance speech -alone on that long stage- demonstrated the admirable and inspiring marks of his temperament. But the most striking moment for me was after the speech, when he was standing behind the glass wall, looking out at the crowd. He wore the burden that he would from that moment bare. As has been said of Lincoln, Obama perhaps more than anyone since, at that moment, truly knew the melancholy loneliness of the Presidency that awaited him. And like Lincoln, he will likely be a great president. If Lincoln’s challenge was to unite America, Obama’s will surely be to tackle global divisions. A burden if there ever was one.

The next four years will certainly involve a lot of people around the world coming to terms with the reality of an Obama administration. What’s more, it will be an administration that probably never has the freedom it imagined while proposing a platform. Both as the result of events past and upcoming, the Obama presidency will necessary include a lot of reactive behaviour. Hopefully, that will not eliminate the possibility of progressive motion. Indeed, the ability to advance through responding may prove crucial to whether this administration manages to achieve its evident promise or not.

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Anonymous November 11, 2008 at 7:03 pm

“And so on the day after, I was deflated. Partly I suppose because I was not a part of it. I am not American. I do not believe that America can save the world. I do not believe in American exceptionalism, even if I believe Obama is himself exceptional, and I do. Partly also because it reflected on the relative smallness of the only politics in which I can honestly participate. I will never vote for a great American president. Nor do I think Canadian politics should aspire to Presidential greatness. Some of these are selfish, obviously, but politics always to a degree is. Some of it is a questioning of how to make a impact, and how not to get caught up in the ephemeral sweep of day to day politiquing.”

It is interesting to see how Canadians engage with their great southern neighbour, which will always dwarf them in every way.

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