Barack Obama and the culture of change


Barack Obama.


Yes we can.

These six words have been heard so often over the past 12 months that they seem to flow easily off the tongue. Is this a good thing? Does Obama really represent the change that millions of Americans are crying out for? To be honest, I’m not really sure, but here are a few thoughts anyway.

Let’s get one thing clear from the outset: I like Barack Obama. I think he’s a decent, kind and intelligent man who loves his country. His story is inspirational, and it’s a credit to the USA that a man such as he can rise from the masses to evoke some of the imagery we’ve seen over the past few days.

This all begs a few questions of what will be most important about his policies? Will his supposed anti free-trade agenda really hurt Australian exports? Will his vow of providing healthcare to all Americans really be feasible in this economic climate? Will his social economic policy of tighter regulation on financial institutions and larger Government help springboard the US economy out of recession?

The answer – who cares?

None of it really matters. Why? Well for starters, 90% of his supporters had no idea of any of his policies. They had no idea what any of John McCain’s policies were either. Obama wasn’t elected because of his policy agenda. Far from it.

Obama was elected as a symbol. He is a beacon for a powerful and driving force in not just the USA, but the World. Here is a figure for people to rally behind. People irrespective of race and religion have shown that he is a powerful and uniting figure. People believe in him because they’re crying out for something, anything to believe in. Overall, people elected Obama because they want hope.

Truth be told, the Republicans never had a chance in this election. George W Bush is the most unpopular President since the Jurassic era. There have been fascist dictators who have been more popular with their country’s peasants than George Bush is with the average American. If Obama had run under the Republican flag, he never would have come close to being elected.

Add to this the fact that Obama ran a $1 Billion dollar campaign.

Let’s read that again.

Add to this the fact that Obama ran a $1 Billion dollar campaign.

One Billion Dollars!!

That my friends, is obscene. That’s more than the GDP of 75% of the World’s nations. How much of that money went into television advertisements, badges, buttons, flags, balloons, pens, hats, etc…? Who knows? And you know what? Nobody cares. It won’t get a shred of news. And you know what? I don’t really care either. On the whole, I think it’s actually better for both America and the World that Obama won. Here’s why.

He’s a symbol. Like I said before, he is a symbol for people to hope in. Did anyone see the rallys he hosted across the globe? He became the first President in history to go on a World tour before he was even elected as President. It was a ridiculous notion, but now, in hindsight, it’s great that he did.

He represents a figure that not only has great potential to unite the USA, but also a symbol that can unite much of the globe. He is a figure that people want to believe in.

Let’s dispel a myth though while we’re here.

"George Bush and the Republicans caused the collapse of the USA sub-prime mortgage market."

Wrong. Way wrong!

Take the scene back a few years, let’s say circa 2002. The Democrats have lost an election and are facing a President with a popularity rating through the roof. Don’t forget that George Bush had an 84% approval rating in the months after September 11. He was a uniting figure for America at that time. So let’s not pretend that all Americans hated him for his entire reign.

He was an idiot though. Let's not forget that either.

Anyway, back to the Democrats. They identified that the economy was an issue that they could claw back some ground on – in particular the housing market. Their big appeal was that not enough people could afford to buy a house. Everyday Americans were struggling to buy a home against the oppression of the evil Bush Administration.

So, what did the Democrats recommend? They recommended lax lending policies. Give the people more freedom to buy a home they cried. The big financial institutions were drowning in cash (so the Democrats claimed) so they could guarantee loans for those who couldn’t afford them.

You know what that’s called?

IIt’s called a sub-prime loan.

So, if I understand this correctly, it’s actually the Democrats who were advocating that Americans and the larger financial institutions such as Freddie Mac and Fannie May should guarantee housing loans and mortgages to those who couldn’t afford to pay them back.

Now sure, the Republicans didn’t even try to stop them so they are just as much to blame. Now, of course there are minor details like the US regulatory system failing abysmally… but anyone who claims that it’s only the failed financial policies of George W Bush and the Republicans that lead to the collapse of the sub prime market clearly has zero understanding of the issue. So, if that’s what you’ve been preaching to everyone… then I have some simple advice for you.

Shut the hell up.

Ok, now that’s over with, let’s focus on how all this relates to Australia. Does anyone remember 14 months ago in the midst of Kevin07’s charge for glory? He was asked several times who he supported for the USA Presidency. His answer every time:

Hillary Clinton.

Oh how quickly we forget these things! Kevin07 made it very clear that Obama was not his preferred candidate. In fact, when he visited the USA during Primary season earlier this year he got a chance to meet with Hillary and made a big public show of offering her support in any way he possibly could.

How crazy! Mind you John Howard did something even worse when he was in office. He came out and said that Osama Bin Laden would be praying for an Obama win.

Uh… yeah, that’s definitely worse.

Anyway, the point here is that so many Australians still seem to be caught in Kevin07’s spell. They all still worship the ground he walks on and I hope that changes sooner rather than later. But I digress…

Back to Obama. Love him or hate him, you must respect him. He is a rare force with an even rarer opportunity to take a diverse and divisive world and unite it in a way few have been able to do. However, one thing that is being overshadowed in the Obama tide of victory is how gracious and kind John McCain was in defeat.

According to all the media we’ve seen, McCain is a grumpy old man without a kind bone in his body who has run the most negative campaign ever seen.

Uh, wrong again. In fact here is something that I didn’t write:

John McCain is beaten, and this is what I haven’t yet seen or heard:
Screams that the vote was rigged.
Lawyers taking the result to court.
The loser blaming anyone but himself.
Angry celebrities vowing to move overseas.
Stickers claiming the winner stole the election.
Furious reporters denouncing ads by the losers’ critics.
Furious reporters blaming the winner’s evil genius.
The bitter losers warning the country “is more divided than ever”.

All of the above is from Andrew Bolt’s blog, and I must say that I couldn’t agree more. When the Left lose, they are more often than not incredibly sore losers. They will point fingers and cry foul at every opportunity. Thus far though, there has not been even a hint of that from the McCain camp. He paid tribute to Obama in an extremely gracious manner in his concession speech. He is a man who deserves America’s respect.

So, where does this all leave the World? To be honest, I’m not sure, but like so many others I have a sense of hope and optimism. The World is Obama’s oyster. He has a rare opportunity to create a tsunami of goodwill and cooperation among the masses. And the more people that rally behind him; the greater chance the USA and the World has to actually create a change we can believe in.

Yes we can.

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Barack Obama
Obama was always going
to win this election.

John McCain
John McCain had trouble cutting
through the Obama hype.
George W Bush is arguably the least
popular politician in recorded history.
Capitol Hill
The Democrats have retained
control of the Hill.
Rud and Clinton
Kevin07 was a Hillary supporter
from the very beginning.
Obama and Change
Yes he can...?.