The Election

0028: I am following this, now, at midnight, from now on. Whether I will stay up until 5am remains to be seen, but it’s nailbiting stuff. Currently 8-3 to McCain…

0202: 175-61 to Obama. McCain: “We’ve had a great ride, we’ve had a great experience and it’s full of memories that we will always treasure” – is he worried now? Certainly sounds like it. Apparently there’s record young voter turn-out, too.

0214: Some people are regarding this as a done deal; 76-175 to Obama, with Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes projectedly Obama’s too, putting him only 100 away from the Presidency.

0239: 200-124 to Obama. Looking so good right now. Going to get another G&T!

0354: The news is buzzing with the conviction that Obama has definitely won; it is being called a ‘historic moment’ and people are marvelling that they never thought ‘a black man would be elected…in my lifetime’. 207 to 141 Obama. California is yet to come in; Virginia has just gone to Obama.

0359: California’s just come in! It’s gone to Obama, the tally’s still climbing…297 to 145 to Obama: HE’S WON! It’s still, nominally at least, projected, but everyone knows. The first black man in the White House, 44th President…there you have it; as I think we all hoped. There’s just such a buzz in the air, the news is showing crowds in all sorts of places just cheering, it’s fantastic. Not really sure how much more I can say at 0408 whilst pretty drunk, but wow.

0417: Obama’s electoral vote count just rose again to 306. Doesn’t that count as a landslide? John McCain’s concession speech is just about to come on; he’s lost with 145 so far.

0420: Obama’s just taken two more states: 333 to 155! McCain’s speech talks a lot about the American Dream: the fact that Obama’s the first black president; that they both love and dream for their country, and the progress that America has made to allow it to elect a black President. Very sweet, it has to be said; very West Wing somehow; conciliatory, earnest, and full of goodwill. Very much unlike the personal attacks seen in the last few weeks of his campaign. I’ll leave you to question the sincerity of his speech. Weirdly, they’re all cheering very enthusiastically at the mention of Sarah Palin (oh, help). He’s been talking for ages now…incredibly longwinded man; but then, I guess, once he gets off that stage, that’s it. Keeps coming out with juicy soundbites, but then just keeps on rolling….

0431: ‘the most generous concession speech any man could wish to hear’ has ended. This is ‘the old John McCain’ who ‘inspired the respect of so many people on both sides’, who somehow ‘disappeared’ more recently – but who came back, silencing the boos of his disappointed supporters. Here is an old-fashioned, honourable, serving and proper gentleman. Meanwhile Bush just phoned Obama to congratulate him on his ‘awesome night’.

0438: 338 to 155, and a black woman being interviewed says, as many others have said to her, ‘we’re free at last’. The shadow of slavery is perhaps now finally being thrown off. A ‘new frontier, a new dawn for the world’.

0459: Obama’s just taken to the stage to make his first speech as President Elect, due to actually take up the position in January. “If there’s anyone out there who still doubts whether America is a place where all things are possible, tonight is your answer.” Power of democracy and the American Dream. I guess it was bound to happen really, that both speeches would both describe an America that isn’t quite like the real thing. It’s an historic election in troubled-seeming types – so of course it focuses on the idealistic. “Americans have sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of individuals, we are and always will be the United States of America.” He adds: “It’s been a long time coming, but change has come to America.” And he even sends out the love to McCain: “McCain has endured sacrifices for America that most of us can never imagine, he is a brave and selfless leader”. Then he goes on to tell his daughters that they have “earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House”, and continues to thank everyone and anyone involved, starting with family and friends, going through his campaign team. A giant shout-out, in true celebrity style, and finishing with the idea that “this victory belongs to you, the people”. And here is the results breakdown from the BBC, and the live-update election page too.

0516: He’s describing the changes in the lifetime of an 106-year-old woman from Alaska who was born at a time when she couldn’t vote because she was black and because she was a woman; all the things that have happened in that century, and more. Of ‘unyielding hope’, togetherness, change, and diversity, always repeating, ‘yes, we can’. A powerful speech which tries to reach out for all the people of America and the world. He’s good at this speech-making malarkey; let’s just hope he is as good when he finally becomes the true president. The ‘skinny kid with the funny name’ has won.

0522: This just appeared on the Live Update thread: “Ezra Klein, The American Prospect blog: September 11 has not disappeared from our memory, of course, but we have recovered from the blow. We have forgotten how it felt to be afraid, and so, yesterday, we forgot to vote our fears. And in doing, we have elected a black president with a Muslim name. Fear again proved but a temporary detour from our history’s long arc toward justice. Read more on The American Prospect.“. Klein also says that Obama’s candidacy also forces America to confront its fears and its lingering racism – and it certainly has done that. Makes me realise just how much of a problem racism still is in the US.

I really will stop posting now and go to bed, a happy bunny among millions. Someone said that Obama isn’t the best president to have from the UK’s perspective; I don’t know why. But I don’t believe that – for the world, I can’t really think of a better president right now. Only time will tell.



Filed under Society, World

9 responses to “The Election

  1. I think the main case from people who oppose Obama, in the Uk at least, is that he’s too idealistic in his policies and won’t be able to follow through on a lot of them. Racism is still a massive issue in the US as this election process has highlighted – Martin Luther’s Dream has just taken a huge leap forward though.

    Great blog!

  2. standingonthebrink

    Thank you 🙂

    I know what you mean about his idealism, definitely – and it does worry me. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how this one turns out, I mean, is he just another Tony Blair? Wins by a landslide, huge feeling of new dawns and new leaves, and actually changes little for the better and much for the worse? We’ll see…

  3. claremohan

    I think the point about Obama/America/The American Dream is that we’re all bound to be slightly sceptical about the whole thing, because we’ve just had eight years of the Bush administration, which, to be honest, has fairly tarnished t’auld place. However, let’s not forget that despite that and despite the various screw-ups the US has made in the past, there is still something about America which is unique. Possibly because it’s so young (although NZ and Australia are younger) but also perhaps because of the constitution and that, which make it so much more democratic (in theory) than other places.
    I reckon, to be honest, Obama’s going to be better than any other leader of recent times in the USA because he’s so well qualified. The guy taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago before going into politics. He did a law degree (I think) at Harvard, and obviously since he has such a thorough understanding of the consitution he knows more about what he’s working with than probably any other president before him. Except maybe the ones who set up the whole shebang. Anyway, basically, I’m inclined not to be too sceptical. I reckon America (and therefore in some ways the rest of the world) is onto a good thing, and I for one am not going to question my euphoria.
    For the first time in ages the world feels like a damn good place and I mean to enjoy this feeling. There’s new hope in the air, methinks.
    And I look forward to seeing what the Obama’s new puppy looks like.

  4. standingonthebrink

    Lawks, Clare, you’re well read-up all of a sudden! When did this happen? How do you know all this stuff? And let’s just hope you’re right…


  5. claremohan

    Well, I told Cam that I read the Guardian, so guess who now reads the Guardian? plus Dad and I have been discussing it volubly and all this information is all over the place. The guy is the most intelligent and intellectual president the USA has had for quite some time, I’m tempted to say ever. We’re in good hands. At least, we will be on Jan 20th, the official takeover day.
    Until then, GWB has another few months to wreck the world, and he can pretty much do anything. As Lucy Mangan said: “Bush could invade China, he could launch nuclear missiles into space, he could bankrupt the USA, and before any of you say no he couldn’t, remember ‘Yes, yes he can'”. I thought ’twas quite humorous meself.

  6. claremohan

    btw, Cam = Cambridge…

  7. standingonthebrink

    Good on you – and keep it up after the interview. I buy one occasionally; I should more often because it’s only 30p, but then I have LOADS OF PAPER to get rid of. Joys.

    I love Lucy Mangan. Someone I know hates her; I odn’t know why!

    Oh gosh, good luck America. The woman makes a good point. Hopefully Obama can sort out the mess GWB leaves behind him AND make a difference of his own before his term is out – and let’s just hope he gets in for all eight years.

    And yes, Cam can’t really = anything else in context!


  8. Lucy

    Jenny’s already said it… but I love Lucy Mangan!!! The woman makes many a good point. My Dad and I are waiting for the reciprocal column, ToryBoy Strikes Back.

  9. standingonthebrink

    Oh there so should be a column by ToryBoy! That would be the most hilarious thing!!

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