29 August 2008

Obama's Speech

I'm not going to retell what Obama said. He's a very good speaker, of course, and reminds me of Bill Clinton in his ease of speaking and his lightness.

I want to think aloud about a few of the points that his speech made clear to me.

I hadn't realized how unhappy I have been with the US. Of course, in a foreign country, I try not to discuss politics, particularly as I am unhappy with same basic structures within my country.

Particularly the social ones. But that's not something I want to talk about here: the whole dirty linen concept and frankly, I resent people feeling that they have the right to knock my country off the cuff and without any sense of empathy.

(In an aside, yesterday I was simply walking down my street, carrying groceries. A woman stopped me, asked me to take her photo (not sure why, my street is not so pretty) and then after asking where I was from, told me she likes NY but won't visit because she doesn't line US politics. But that should change and won't I be happy. Now that may be so, but I don't need a stranger telling me that!)

But as I listened to Obama and heard my basic beliefs (and they were basic, not specific) being iterated, I realized that I am so relieved. So happy. The tears poured down my face (and I was glad to be alone) as I realized that the way I feel is not outre, that a belief that all Americans should be at least as well off as the least of the EU citizens is not insane (or Communist, as my brother told me).

I am the "Republican who finally felt able to pick up the Democratic ballot" that Obama mentioned (though I registered as a Democrat two years ago). When I listened to Bill Clinton's speech yesterday (I have taped them and watched them the following moring) all I could think was that this could have been Bill Clinton: we didn't need to wait this long to have a President who was intelligent and with the concerns of the modern world. But Bill Clinton threw it away and I am still angry at him for that and the divisiveness that his behaviour allowed to build.

Let us all pray, or hope if we don't pray, that the US can, in our lifetimes, have a social structure that ensures that all have health care, that all can be educated, that all can be housed, that all can be fed. That the structure of the family (and by that I mean a real maternity/parental leave policy is in place) can be assured, that parental leave shall be followed by access to safe childcare and that integration of citizens is a right.

I may knock Germany's food (it is so, so bad) and I may be horrified by what I consider to be tolerated racism and xenophobia, but the social system of this county, and its integration policies, are so much better than those in the US that I can only pray that we get there one day.

Don't forget to vote! Vote From Abroad

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear! I'm behind you every step and I most certainly won't forget to vote, in fact I'll do it as early as we're allowed!