Friday, November 07, 2008

On President Obama (1)

The election having happened, the results conclusively in, I'm hoping that a temperate conversation might be possible on US politics. I'm going to break up my thoughts into six or seven shorter posts as I don't have the time to gather all the threads together right this second!

Let's begin with the joy: two major reasons for being high on emotion at this time.

The first is that the Bush administration is now entering into history. Reportage from the United States rather reminds me of the feeling in the UK on the morning in 1997 when Blair was elected - strangers smiling at each other in the streets, that sort of thing. It was clearly past time to turn the page. So that is good.

The second thing is the shattering of a glass ceiling. Purely by the presence of a black family in the White House some measure of healing will come to the United States, and to the US vis-a-vis other nations in the world. That is a wonderful thing - but as I accept MLK's teaching on the subject I shall not again make reference to race in these posts.

There is also one other positive thing to emphasise: at this moment it is still possible to hope. Hope may be a virtue but it can be strengthened or inhibited by wider factors, and when those wider factors are favourable the upsurge in hope can itself be something that strengthens a community and gives it the capacity to function more effectively.

One last sad thought: there are clearly some raving idiots out there, who might wish to do the new President physical harm. All Christians should pray for the safety of Obama and his family, fervently.

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