Well, that was a very long night.
While the night began with a majority non-US audience, by the time the election was called there were only two non-US citizens left, and as it progressed I ended up being the only non-US citizen to stay to watch President-elect Obama’s victory speech. Only one US citizen was a Republican and McCain supporter, and he and I spent most of the time discussing the false illussions of ‘change’ that Mr. Obama’s election represented; him from the right and me from the left. Very wierd and unusual.
So, I lost my bet that McCain would win. Thats okay. As I’ve said before I regard Mr. Obama as a lesser evil than Mr. McCain. Watching Mr. McCain’s concession speech though one did have to wonder why he didn’t speak like that more during the campaign. With the close margin of victory by popular vote, more of that ‘real’ McCain may well have been enough to trump the negative Palin factor and win the election for him.
It was interesting watching the pro-Obama US citizens, and listening to their thoughts. While one of them did try to stress that change will not happen overnight, and tried to downplay all the hype built up around Mr. Obama, one got the sense he was forcing himself to say that.
As should be clear to most regular readers of this blog, I am a supporter of the Socialist Party USA, who also ran in the election with an extremely remote chance of winning. I don’t know how many votes they recieved yet, but I’ll post them here when I do.
I get the impression that alot of pro-Obama people have this illussion of him as being a phenomenal change and that the US Imperialist system has changed irrevocably with this election. I hold no such illussions in an Obama presidency. For all his talk of change, this change appears more cosmetic than anything else, both in the sense of US institutional racism and its capitalist-imperialist orientation. It is possible that with all the hype about some ambigous ‘change’ that pressure may indeed result in some profound and long-lasting changes. These should be encouraged and supported. But they should also be ruthlessly critiqued when they amount to ‘talking left, walking right’ as is all too common in politics. Positive reforms should be expanded on in these critiques to show that they are good, but not good enough, and this is what needs done.
One hopes indeed that this ‘change’ will result in substantial change and not the mere cosmetic changes it appears to be right now. But I am awake to the fact that it most likely will not be substantial. It remains to be seen how long it will take for others to wake up to this fact also.
For now, I recommend capuchino, tea, and a good heavy dose of critical thinking.