Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Monday, November 3, 2008

World watching United States elections, cheering for Barack Obama

At last, the time has come.

After months and years of campaigning, after one of the longest nominating seasons in American history, after two party conventions at the end of the summer, after a marathon autumn campaign...this is it.

This is Election Day. This is the moment we have been working towards.

As I write this, the Pacific Northwest is still a few hours away from midnight on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008. But the hour has already struck on the East Coast, and the first poll votes of Election Day 2008 are being cast in New Hampshire in a town-meeting style setting.

Around the world, humankind is watching as the final votes are cast. Today is the day that America decides who will lead our nation for the next four years.

Today we, the people of the United States of America have an opportunity to close the door on the Bush error and chart a new course.

Millions of people around the world... perhaps even billions... are hoping, praying, dreaming, daring to imagine a Democratic victory and a final repudiation of the disaster that has been the Bush administration.

Major newspapers from every region of the world are fixated on the election, prominently displaying election-related stories and photos.

Take a look at France's Le Monde:

Le Monde
Or Brazil's O Estado de S. Paulo:

O Estado de S. Paulo
Or, from the United Kingdom, The Guardian:

The Guardian
Or the Hindustan Times of India:

Hindustan Times
Or The Daily Nation from Kenya:

Daily Nation

Or, from Israel, the Jerusalem Post:

Jerusalem Post
World opinion polls, both unscientific and scientific, have found that Obama is widely favored. Here's Gallup:
Gallup Polls conducted in 73 countries from May to October 2008 reveal widespread international support for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama over Republican Sen. John McCain in the U.S. presidential election. Among these nations, representing nearly three-quarters of the world's population, 24% of citizens say they would personally rather see Obama elected president of the United States, compared with just 7% who say the same about McCain. At the same time, 69% of world citizens surveyed did not have an opinion.
In Australia, about three quarters of those surveyed say they're for Barack Obama:
THE vast majority of Australian voters are willing Barack Obama to victory in the US presidential election (tomorrow, Sydney time).

Kevin Rudd's Labor Government continues to enjoy majority support as well, but at levels nowhere near as effusive as those for Senator Obama.

A Herald/Nielsen Poll conducted on Thursday and Friday last week found 73 per cent of all voters want the [Democratic] senator from Illinois to become the next president of the US. By contrast, only 12 per cent are supporting Senator Obama's Republican rival, John McCain, while the remaining 15 per cent did not know who they wanted to win.
Way to go, Australia! We progressives and Democrats here in America thank you for your sympathy and support.

The world may be anticipating an Obama victory, but nothing is certain. The Republicans are fighting to win this election.

We cannot rest or celebrate until the polls close.

If you have not voted, vote. If you have voted, urge your neighbors and friends to vote for Barack Obama and the Democratic ticket. If you've done that, sign up to volunteer. Join a phonebank or help get people to the polls.

There's always more to be done.

The world is counting on us. Let's not let our brothers and sisters down.


Blogger Hannah said...

I am 22 and I'd like to capture my thoughts before America either elects a president who its first 26 presidents could have legally owned, or brazenly subverts the very ideals it was founded upon by manipulating numbers in a final embarrassingly overt goosestep towards corporate totalitarianism.

I am nervous. And not night-before-the-swim-test nervous or even night-you-lose-your-virginity nervous, it's a low rumbling primal panic which I can only liken to Star Wars panic. Disney panic. The edge-of-your-seat-terror that makes you wonder if Skywalker's doomed after he refuses to join Darth Vader and drops down into the abyss, if the wicked octopus or grand vizier or steroid-pumping-village-misogynist is going to wed/kill/skin the dashing prince and then evil people in dark funny costumes are going to take over the world... if it wasn't a movie of course.

And tonight it's not. It's not a movie and yet I feel like Obama might as well be wearing an American flag cape while a decaying McCain, in a high-tech robotic spider wheelchair wearing an eyepatch and stroking an evil cat, gives orders to a sexy scheming Palin who marches back and forth through their sub-terranian campaign lair in four inch thigh-highs and full-body black leather catsuit bossing around the evangelical ants with a loooooong whip... umm... is this just me?

Anyway, the point is that things feel weird folks. I have friends who have peed in waterbottles to keep from interrupting a Halo-playing marathon who got off their asses/couches to volunteer for the Obama campaign not once, but many times. Friends so cheap their body content is at least 1/3 Ramen Noodle who donated a good deal of their hard-earned cash to the campaign. People have registered to vote in record numbers, and yet, something just doesn't feel right. I think we should stop congratulating ourselves for just voting. To vote is a privilege which people have died for, and I think there's a whole lot more to be done for the country than to simply help win an election every 4 years.

Hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of man-hours spent on both sides by good-intentioned people who want to make a difference in an historic election, so many resources and voices and energies devoted to a single day. After tomorrow, half of that is going to have been a waste. And I can't help but wonder what could have happened if all that muscle had been put towards something else, and what will happen to its momentum after the election has come and gone. Shouldn't we be donating our money to good causes whenever we can? Helping people who don't have? Dedicating some of our time to contribute to making the country which provides for us a better place? Of course a power shift is a hugely significant step on the path to great reform, but worrying about this election has been a wakeup call for me:

Even if Obama wins, we have not "won." This isn't a movie and we can't toss every greedy lobbyist oil fatcat bigot down a reactor shaft. I think if we dedicate ourselves to the ongoing welfare of the country as much as we have to the outcome of this election, we'll have a much better shot at coming closer to the overwhelming good the liberals hope Obama will usher in, but which no mere mortal could fully realize alone.

Which brings me to the other side. I've heard a lot of people claim that if McCain wins, they're leaving. I heard the same thing about Bush's reelection, and his unelection before that, and nobody seems to be leaving. And that's fine. Because as much as I complain about certain political happenings, atrocities, etc., I really do like it here and I suspect most other people do too. We have New York and Hollywood, purple mountain's majesty and sea to shining sea, we created jazz and country music and baseball and cars and lightbulbs and computers and that movie with hundreds of animated singing Chihuahuas! I mean who among the shivering Plymouth pilgrims ever imagined ordering hundreds of animated singing chihuahuas onto a magical box from an invisible information superweb?

The point being, if things don't turn out the way I want tomorrow, I feel compelled, as a college-graduated adultish-type-person, to take a stand. And if I'm going to leave I'm going to leave. But if I'm going to stay I'm not going to sit around whining like I have for the past 8 years. It's like when I don't clean my room because it's dirty and then I blame the dirt. So in my very indecisive way, before you and your screen, I'm declaring my intention to make some kind of stand in the event of -(Ican'tevensayit)-, and encouraging you to consider making one too...

Jump the ship or grab a bucket?
Wasn't everything so much easier back when the worst possible affront to your values was a PB&J sandwich cut diagonally with crust?

Anyways, I guess what I'm saying is that if we're going to stay on board, we should probably be generous with our time and resources when times are tough even more than when the hero saves the day. Because what if he doesn't? And what if he can't? If we're serious about real change, election day should only be the beginning of "Yes we can," not the end.

Hannah Friedman

November 4, 2008 2:14 PM  

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