Our Moment Is Now

Of all the slogans that the Obama campaign has, “Our Moment Is Now” is probably my favourite. It encapsulates the feeling of America, if not the world, that it’s time for a change, and that it is a new generation that will be making it. At least, that is my reading of the current situation. Can nearly 200 polls be wrong and there is a McCain “surge” waiting in the wings, undetected by dozens of polls over the past several weeks?

No. I’m feeling pretty confident about it. And to celebrate, I will be staying up all night tonight and following the coverage. The coverage is, of course, not very good here in the UK, unless you have Sky television, and receive all the US news channels. Tonight, I will have to suffer the BBC and ITV coverage. Hopefully, there will be no Jeremy Vine making a total prick of himself. Bring back Peter Snow, that’s what I say.

So a very long night is in prospect. I usually do this to myself every election night, US, UK and even the Italian election that put Romano Prodi back in power, because I wanted to see Silvio Berlusconi go down in flames. Though he did, it didn’t last very long, such is the nature of Italian politics, and now the corrupt “Il Cavaliere” is back in power.

But this one holds so much significance to me.  Probably more than the UK election will next time around. To me, I hope this is the evidence of a generational shift in politics. I hope it is going to prove to us that there is going to be a change in the way politics is conducted, away from the tired old priorities of the past, towards re-engaging society via grassroots organisation. This kind of narrative slots very neatly into American history – because the USA is built so strongly upon local organisation anyway – but I suspect it will not take root here. We are suspicious of localism in this country, preferring instead to take our direction from politicians hundreds of miles away in London.

I have pinned a lot of hopes to Obama, and I know many of them will be dashed. I talked about this last time I wrote about him. But nevertheless, he is still the perfect candidate for these times. I want to believe, I really do, and have allowed myself to be swept away with the hype, just this once.

And so that is why tonight I feel there is so much at stake. I love politics, and I love elections even more, but normally I view them with a critical distance. There is not too much difference between the parties in the UK any more, so it doesn’t really matter that much.

This time, however, I detect a large difference between Obama and McCain. With that in mind, there is only one possible candidate for me to support. And I have to go all in with my support, because any other result would be a disaster, not just for me personally, but I believe the USA and hence the rest of the world will suffer.

If I was an American, today I would be doing everything I could to get out the vote. I would be knocking on doors, delivering leaflets, making phone calls, whatever. This means so much to me, and it means so much to the rest of the world too.

There is a lot riding on American shoulders today. I know they are up to the challenge. I know some of them don’t like Johnny Foreigner getting involved in their politics either. But the only reason we do is because it matters a great deal to us. It affects our lives too. We want to have a say on that, only we can’t.

How do you think that feels to feel so powerless, helpless, disconnected, unable to do anything about the changing circumstances of the world, Unable to have a say on changing the direction of travel?

Americans should feel very privileged that they have, in their hands, one method of changing the world. I beg of you, on behalf of the rest of the planet, please, don’t waste it.

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