Sunday, 9 November 2008

Barack Obama: Inspiration, Hope and Self-Reliance

Barack Obama's election as the 44th President of the United States of America has inspired people of all ages and of all races across the world. More young people than ever before voted for Obama and in his acceptance speech Obama referred to a centenarian Ann Nixon Cooper - 106 years old in fact - who exercised her right to vote in this election.

The election of Barack Obama has given people hope again that things can really be different, but not just different - better. This man has encouraged individuals to have a "can do" attitude. He has encouraged people to embrace change.

However, I read a comment recently that lingered with me. The person questioned that so many people should rely on this one man. And here's the thing. When you read comments from Obama's supporters you know they have not been lulled into a false sense of security.

They are fully aware that the new President will have an enormous task ahead of him. The recession is cutting deep, so too are the wars. The nation is ready for healing and new leadership.

Nonetheless, Obama will certainly make what will be perceived to be mistakes and he will make decisions that will be unpopular. It's just the nature of the beast. There is no way he will please everyone all the time. The man himself is quick to point out the potential pitfalls along the way:

"There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can’t solve every problem."

But he is quick to reassure that this time the people will have a voice that will go beyond election day.

"I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand."

And this is the key.

Millions of people voted for Obama and millions more, without a legal right to vote in the US, voted in spirit partly because they were inspired by his message of positive change. What is needed now is to keep fanning the flames of hope. Individuals need to apply the inspiration they have received from Obama's miraculous journey to a little-know Senator to President-elect of the US to their own lives. People need to rekindle dreams that were abandoned and conceive of new and bigger dreams.

It's not about relying on one man. It's about self-reliance and working together in a co-operative spirit.

For many, the recession is cutting deep, so too are the wars that majority of people have been opposed to. It's time for healing. It's time for change.

Yet, as Obama said:

"It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice."

To create the positive change that so many crave individuals each have to pull their own weight. People can draw inspiration and hope from this new leader but there is no question that anyone should be relying solely on one man to achieve this change. Individuals have to take responsibility for their role in this movement and optimise their own lives.

But there's certainly a new optimism in the air, a new sense of possibility. A definite "can do" attitude. And this is a spirit people the world over can benefit from.

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