I was going to wax lyrical about the importance of yesterday’s results, because it all (my feelings) seemed oh so important and meaningful and earnest at 9am yesterday morning, when I hadn’t had any kip and was, possibly more importantly, still drunk - (red wine + Cava + no sleep makes for a very uncomfortable 4 hour train journey home, especially when you incorporate London underground into that).
So, now, a little calmer and rested and rational, I don’t actually believe that we are in a whole new world. I don’t know a lot about Obama’s policies, I know more about what he doesn’t stand for (Palin), which to me is the important thing. I am overjoyed that for the next 4 years we’ve got a (partial?) end to the traditional WASP in power. That’s amazing. I don’t think this makes America any less racist, but my god I’m so happy that enough American people aren’t racist enough to *not* vote for Obama.*
I think that the election of a black guy to the American Presidency has enormous value as a symbol – as the end of the traditional white old rich guy running things. That is *so* important. And without meaning to denigrate that achievement, or to appropriate it for my own means, (because I do realise how important the election, in and of itself, of a person of colour, is to other people of colour), it also gives me hope that anyone from any given minority, or a woman (52% of the population does not a minority make), could also be elected, in the future, and that we could finally get our voices heard. And that’s really damn cool, for everybody.**
I am a massive believer in role models, of the power of seeing someone like you, out there, represented, speaking, out loud, in the public eye, or in everyday life. Without role models, without visible representation, we internalise feelings of areas of life being cut off from us, unattainable. Now we’ve got an incredibly visible black guy in the highest position of power in America. Hooray!
I kind of feel like in a sci fi future, where to show how progressive things are and how good, just and equal society is they have a black family in the White House (and usually, no other people of colour, anywhere).
Of course, I know this doesn’t mean an instant end to shit and bigotry happening. Just cos one black guy got in doesn’t mean it will happen again. Thatcher got to be the UK Prime Minister in the 80s, funny how women are still massively under represented in Parliament. Just cos one person has broken through doesn’t mean that others can suddenly move freely. It also doesn’t mean he’s going to eradicate racism, or even come up with all the right answers. Especially as ‘right’ is somewhat subjective.
I’m waiting for a backlash of people claiming he isn’t really black so it doesn’t count. Or people shooting him. They’d better make sure the security is really damn good.
I’m loving the fact that Kenya have declared Thursday a national holiday. My head is in my hands over Russia’s decision to situate more missiles right on their borders, and that Medvedev wants to extend his term from 4 years to 6 years. Christ almighty Russia, I love you, but you’re insane.
*Was that proper English? I doubt it.
**If I’m being an arse here, then tell me. I swear I’m not trying to take away from his achievement.