President Obama: GBCW and Farewell
by brit, Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 02:57:09 AM EST
O What a Beautiful Morning.
Actually, it's a grey damp start to a new Era here in London. But despite sleeplessness and hangovers, the world seems a lot brighter today. People are walking with a spring in their step.
What happened last night? What happened over the last year? Did I dream all that? Did America, the country that gave George Bush two terms: whose voters were robbed in 2000, bamboozled in 2004: did that same country really elect this smart, dedicated, eloquent, passionate man called Barack Hussein Obama?
When our most read newspaper, a famously right wing tabloid, publishes a headline like this, then you know the world has changed, changed utterly...
This is a moment that will live in history as long as history books are written
But I found this the picture from last night and it made me think::
As Literature majors will know, much of the American narrative, in fiction and in politics, is about breaking away from fathers. Some say this a metaphor for the radical act of independence. Others put it down to the pioneer spirit, which while opening up new frontiers, meant a painful severance with old patrimonies. Even McCain and Bush fit into this narrative of confronting, emulating, struggling with the father, higher or otherwise.
Obama's election changes this utterly too.
That a man who never really had a father, is clearly such a brilliant father to his own daughters, and is now a kind of father figure to a whole nation, nay to the world, I find that infinitely telling and touching.Just seen Colin Powell on CNN, and he's still in tears.
So how does it feel America, to be a role model for the world?[UPDATED] before I'm flamed again for apparently upholding the norms of oppressive patriarchy, or suggesting that anyone needs fathers, let me state (for the record and with my hangover abated) that what I like about the image of father Obama projects is that its not patriarchal - distant, imperious and commanding. He seems incredibly present with his kids. And in his historic acceptance speech last night he constantly referenced the achievements of the women's movement. So please - let's not equate a discussion of the roles of fathers (necessary after all) with the unnecessary attributes of patriarchy, macho, or the American male. Update [2008-11-5 17:29:11 by brit]: The classic work on the role of absent or abusive fathers in American Literature is "Love and Death in the American Novel" by Leslie A. Fiedler. Barack Obama's "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" has become a classic addition to that canon. Update [2008-11-5 19:24:22 by brit]: I always intended to leave MYDD the day Obama was elected. Thanks to you the great majority who have been so tolerant of this Brit getting involved. I'll miss you. And thanks for the 'others' for coming out of the woodwork here, and reminding me of what I won't be missing.
Update [2008-11-6 2:26:40 by brit]: My last comment - finally I get to say it
Great thing is, now the election is over, I don't have to bite my tongue anymore for the sake of unity, and I can finally let loose some home truths to the venal, glib and hopeless posters here who have ended up on the wrong side of history.
With no need for diplomacy anymore, can I just say Jerome, Chitown, and all you dozens of others who have decried Obama's movement from the beginning, and piled on at what you conceived to be the merest slip; all you so called oppositional seekers of truth, who either banned people or hide rated them when they called out your bad faith; to all those far right wing loons and Obama haters who used to dominate the rec list here; and to everyone else, who might have observed all this, and wondered if progressive political debate always descends into this, I say:
We were right. You were wrong. Enjoy eating your own hats for the next eight years.