I’m not usually in the slightest bit interested in US elections, but this one’s got me excited. It feels like 1997 all over again, when Labour won a landslide majority, bringing them back into power after years of Tory rule.
I’ve been mightily impressed by what I’ve seen of Obama, such a refreshing change from the usual suspects. I’ve been thinking today how perhaps we actually needed eight years of the idiot Bush, to ensure that Obama got elected. I knew this cloud would have a silver lining.
I’m struck by the amount of truly international news there is at the moment. Elections, economic turmoil, Chinese food scares With my starting to teach again, I decided that I wanted to be a bit more in touch with world events that I have been for the past few years, in order to be able to discuss ‘stuff’ with my students. It’s been an easy change to make: I subscribed to the Guardian news feed on my iPhone, and set the BBC as my homepage.
I don’t find myself getting down about these things though. The global economic meltdown is pretty exciting in a way. I like the fact that there are calls for widespread change. It’s a healthy reminder that even the seemingly unchangeable can be changed if there is sufficient will. I see it a bit like a natural bush fire, clearing the ground for new growth. Obviously I’m not celebrating the fact that it’s hit some of my friends pretty hard (especially those with mortgages), but in the long run they’ll be fine. I like to see a big shake-up. Anything is possible. (Of course I’m probably slightly biased, having profited from a side-effect of the slump, that being Sterling hitting rock bottom earlier in the week).
I am saddened and shocked by the more ‘important’ news stories. For some reason, I don’t see these in the headlines. The many civil wars, the horrendous trampling of basic human rights, the killings in the name of some god or other. I was catching up with some BBC podcasts today, namely From our Own Correspondent. This long-running series provides a real insight into how Big News events are affecting people on the ground. It can be pretty harrowing, but I think is important for me to be aware. Being aware plays an important part in my maintaining my feeling of gratitude. And of course, it also shapes my actions.
Anyway, it’s time for bed. i have a date with Komozawa koen in about 6 hours. *Twinkle*s been in bed all evening with sickness and severe stomach cramps, poor love. I hope she’ll be feeling better in the morning.
I believe that the economic crisis was a necessary development to end rampant consumerism and to re-focus attention on the business of living life rather than accumulating stuff. I don’t believe any event is random. They all happen because we want them to or at the very least are indifferent toward stopping them.
That being said, you might find the economic situation less exciting and more troublesome if you weren’t doing well economically right now. It’s important to keep in mind that all psychological suffering is real to the people experiencing it, no matter what it’s cause. Every person who is in despair deserves empathy.
While I’m encouraged that a Democrat will be elected, I haven’t drunk the Obama Kool-aid. The U.S. government isn’t one where one person holds so much power that they can just get in there and get things done. It’s immensely complicated and requires the cooperation of a lot of other people. Bush has been a horrible president but he hasn’t done it alone. The congress, including the Democrats, have been a part of the mess. The zeitgeist after 9/11 swept them all in the same direction. Also, the American public have tacitly approved of a lot of what has happened through indifference or ignorance.
The fact that Obama is electable at all is a sign that the zeitgeist has changed and that’s actually where the potential lies, not in one man.
Personally, my biggest fear right now is that Obama will be assassinated by some Klansmen-type of person and then there will be civil disturbance the likes of which the U.S. has never seen before. I hope the secret service forms a wall of bodies around him every time he steps out of a building and that he doesn’t travel rope lines.
I was thinking the very same thing the other day when the news emerged of those two chaps planning to kill him.
As you know, I’m also not much of a believer in randomness either.
I was listening to an interesting story on the BBC the other day about how the end of rampant consumerism in the West has had a huge impact on China’s wealthiest exporters. It seems people really are buying less ‘stuff’, which can’t be bad.