Victory Speech, and then…
So we’ve elected a person of colour to the presidency, this person being a dynamic, educated and eloquent individual who has mobilized a huge network of volunteers and an unprecedented sum of campaign money. This person has spoken of a direction that invokes visions of a more caring and balanced society than has been the legacy of the Nixon/Ford?Bush/Clinton/Bush era, and has benefited from a sense that our whole global society has gotten seriously out of kilter.
In his victory speech, Obama was careful to temper the enthusiasm of his supporters for the change of which he has so ardently spoken with a hint of the realism that must inevitably settle in once he is invested in the White House and takes stock of the resources with which he will be left. He conveyed the sense that there will need to be a sense of cooperation and of willingness to work and to sacrifice in order to set the United States and the World economy back on a footing that will allow for progress. That his speech was compelling is borne out by the interviews with people leaving Grant Park who spoke of feeling that there was proof that they could do anything, and by the sense of hope and anticipation so clearly mirrored in the speech and countenances of those shown on news coverage.
Much of the imbalance that has crept into society is the result of the empowerment of greed, of the creed that we are free to explore our own goals, even at the expense of other individuals and, indeed, at the expense of society as a whole. If we are going to implement a new way of doing business in North America and around the world, we must take to heart the crux of Obama’s election night speech: that this is a victory for those who worked to engage the process of change, and the message is that we can’t let go now, It is entirely conceivable that those who worked to elect Obama may find themselves mobilizing again to ensure that the rhetoric of the campaign gets matched by the deeds of those that the campaign put in office. Not only is there no peace for the wicked, there can be no rest for the virtuous for the simple fact that there are still forty-odd million who fall into the categories of either the depraved or the dupes of the depraved, those who voted for a continuation of the devastation of the last three decades, especially the heightened campaign of sleaze, rapaciousness and dishonesty of the last eight years, and that bloc still wields enormous power, much of it using the resources of its victims to do damage to those from whom it steals.
Too many people, both old and young, expressed the feeling following Tuesday night’s events that they could do anything, almost in the sense of the fairy godmother visiting with the promise of great wealth and power, and it’s easy to draw that conclusion from the published narrative of the Obama family, and while that may be the case for a few, it would put those few into the same clan with the people who elected and empowered the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush régime. Our aspirations have to be rethought and retaught: our ideal should ensure that everyone have enough, particularly in terms of opportunity, and that we should all benefit from prosperity and share whatever misery there is to go around. It is unlikely that we will achieve that level of mutual support and consideration, but if we can accept the ideal of mutual support and consideration, we are likely to improve immediately on many people’s prospects, and certainly on our own outlook for a peaceful and fulfilling life in society.