I am completely riveted by the 2008 Election, which if you haven’t heard already, is an election of historic proportions, since either a really old dude (the oldest first-term Commander in Chief ever!) or a black man (the darkest Commander in Chief ever!) will be named the 44th president of the United States. In the past I have been somewhat disdainful of U.S. politics, the Canadian in me recoiling from the smear tactics and aggressive campaigning (we’re so gosh darn polite in Canada), not to mention the fervent religious undercurrent that frequently becomes an overtone. In those respects, this election has had its fair share of alienating this non-voter, but I’ve also seen a lot to admire and respect as well. It has been inspiring to see just how deeply people (on both sides of the ticket) care about their country and its future. I marvel at stories of people volunteering to drive strangers to the polls, just so that everyone gets the opportunity to exercise his or her vote. When Tony & I went out for dinner on Saturday night, our dining companions wore matching Obama swag, and toted along a purse covered in "Yes We Can" pins. [Aside: I have never seen a Steven Harper (American readers: who?) t-shirt, or even a Jack Layton (American readers: huh?) button for that matter (no one wonders why there's no Stéphane Dion (American AND Canadian readers: ???) merch). This might be because as Canadians we only indirectly vote for our national leader, but I would like to attribute it, at least in part, to the lack of catchy slogans.] Granted, if you live in Tennessee as I do, a vote for change will likely not change anything as this state is a burning crimson red, but still! [Another Aside: For the record, while I fully admit that the Canadian election system is not perfect, I really don’t get the Electoral College system… don’t try to explain it to me... it just seems dumb. Why not just have every person’s individual vote count? Tony keeps trying to explain how you win the popular vote but lose at the Electoral College level (this happened to Gore…), which I sort of understand, but doesn’t this outcome seem like a huge flaw in the system if the MAJORITY voice is being sidestepped? Just do away with the Electoral College already, I say!]
I hope Obama wins this. He has been slammed for his rhetoric (amongst other things, of course), but he is a great orator, and I applaud his use of inspiration and hope as a means of motivation rather than hatred and fear. When people are weary and apathetic, hope is perhaps the most difficult thing to offer, and yet it is the most vital. I think Obama has the potential to be a great leader, not because he has the wherewithal and the intelligence to deliver the tangible goods the country needs, but because of all of the intangibles he offers. If you have not watched the “Yes We Can” video
put together by will.i.am, do yourself a favor and do so, and you will see what I am talking about.
Today, not just America, but the entire world, waits with bated breath. Talk about uniting people.