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Only In America

Entry 884, on 2008-11-06 at 22:06:00 (Rating 3, Politics)

Well the American presidential election is over and, for once, it has provided the right result, but are things really as great as everybody seems to think? The response around the world seems to be almost universally positive and I think there is good reason for that positivity but, on the other hand, is this as big a deal as has been suggested?

Barack Obama is a good speaker I agree, and he certainly seems to have inspired many people. But in the end it will be real results, which we will only see in a few years, which will really say how good a president he is. I don't have high expectations because of the extremely difficult situation he has been left by the previous president. In some ways it might be a good thing for the Republicans that they don't have to clean up the mess that their last president has created.

I read in the paper today that Obama is saying that his rise to president could only happen in America. I'm not sure what aspect of his life that is specifically referring to, but I don't think it holds up to scrutiny anyway. The US is the last country in the "civilised" world where a person's gender, race, or background would be seen as such a significant factor. So saying this could only happen in America is ridiculous. Its quite the opposite really.

The other thing I hear so often is that America is the "home of the free". I agree that it did pioneer the concept of the modern democracy, but I don't think its anything special any more. I see no reason to think that Americans are any more free than people in other modern nations. After the restrictions introduced by the previous president there would be a case to say they are considerably less free than many.

And where else do people get so excited and patriotic about their leaders, even though those leaders regularly stab them in the back and mess up their lives? There is far more cynicism towards politics in most other countries because people have seen how flawed the political system really is (even in a democracy). In a way I admire the people of the US for their positivity towards their leaders and I just hope Obama can live up to the adulation, but past experience does not leave me feeling too optimistic.

But that's enough cynical negativity from me. I am happy that Obama has won, I congratulate Americans on doing the right thing, and I hope their new president really can make a difference. I don't necessarily expect him to live up to all the hype but, after George Bush, anyone would seem like an improvement!


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