triumph of the underdog

Barack Obama gave people courage. His movement was improbable and challenged a nation’s conscience.

Barack Obama gave people courage.

His movement was improbable and challenged a nation’s conscience.

Today, America is restored as a beacon of hope.

As a result, there is a sense of optimism throughout the world.

And it all started with a few people who weren’t going to be swayed by cynicism.

The America election was about character, not skin colour. It was America’s young voters who put that challenge to the country.

They liberated the nation’s conscience — and, in a single night, exported it to the world.

Oppressor can no longer be the assumed character of the West.

Throughout history, skin colour has been visceral and divisive — a silent prejudice, the easiest and therefore humanity’s most vicious.

No nation occupies the moral high ground on race relations.

And now, a man half-white and half-black is bringing the world to the altar of its own identity.

For the first time in modern history, there isn’t a white guy at the helm of a superpower.

Obama’s win was even less likely because his ideas weren’t commonly held.

But he fought to bring new, good ideas to the mainstream.

He proved the right thing had a life beyond the converted.

And has put an end to a generation of cultural narratives.

Myths united pockets of the country against others. Shortsighted leaders played to those myths to gain power.

No one tried to convince the other side to understand.

Elections through the last 40 years have been games of reaction and counter-reaction — of pandering to the lowest common denominator.

But, throughout this campaign, Obama changed that game.

A man from a modest family built a national coalition of people from similar roots.

And the nation has been irrevocably changed.

Policies about capitalism, health care, foreign policy and cultural relations were thought to be written in stone.

No more.

It was believed the white majority would never look beyond its skin colour.

No more.

It has been an election of powerful reckonings.

The election wasn’t won by promising to represent a “real” America. Instead, it was won by a man who was real with America.

Obama ran against hawkish militarism, corruption and the lawlessness of the last eight years.

He encouraged citizen action, and has challenged the globalized corporate agenda.

He ran against a global psychological war and a new international myth — the clash of civilizations. It’s no coincidence that both vice-president Dick Cheney and al-Qaeda endorsed John McCain — both are benefactors of hate.

He also challenged apathy.

To move one stone, Obama had to move a million.

He proved history and politics are not determined by convention, but by action.

Obama won’t change everything in the world — but he’s a change from everything else in the world.

He’s the changer.

And we are the changed.