On this historic day, I feel privileged to be able to write that my neighbours in the United States of America have elected an ambitious, wise, and inspiring leader who also happens to be black.
Let’s be real now: Barack Obama can’t and won’t do it all. He’s only one man, and this is politics, where it seems like everything is debated and nothing gets done. But this great leader has sparked in us – in so many different people around the world – a sense of hope and joy and promise. This morning, there is a light that I have not seen behind people’s eyes since the fall of the Berlin wall. A light that went out with the fall of two towers. That’s something already, and he’s not even in office yet.
He’s even inspired our three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. I told her yesterday, while we watched some election coverage on TV and the Net, that Obama was a great man who wanted to help people who don’t have as much as we have; that he wanted everyone to have access to homes and food and jobs and happiness. I said he was going to try to teach people to share and make the world a better place. That was the best explanation I could give a toddler in the early morning before my first coffee.
I educated her in the same way with the October Canadian election, and after listening intently to the choices she had; after Mommy pushing Green perhaps just a little too hard, she said she wanted to vote “Purple.” This time, she seemed to be mulling over everything I’d said more, and really taking it in.
Over supper, before the election results were in, she told Daddy about her day. Out of the blue, she looked at him and said, “Daddy, Obama’s going to change the world!” with a big grin on her face.
This morning, I set up our daughter with breakfast in front of the TV, and together we watched Obama’s historic speech, thanks to a wonderful technology called PVR. “He won? You mean he’s already won?” she said to me during the speech, not realizing that she’d actually missed this “defining moment,” as Obama put it, while asleep in her bed.
“Yes, honey, Barack Obama is President. It’s like you said last night, he’s going to try to change the world!” I said.
She looked at me, perplexed. “But Mommy, I don’t want him to change the world!” she began to cry.
My heart skipped a beat. I wondered what could be coming next. Was she seeing his colour? Had someone put ideas in her head? I paused the speech. I would have to talk with her. Then she finished her thought:
“I don’t want him to change it. I like it round!”