Black people are standing a lot taller today after the election of Barack Obama. Martin Luther King would be shedding a quiet tear right now.

This promises to be a positive change for the whole world. This is America’s chance to be great again. This is the great part of what Bono has called ‘the idea of America’. America is a land of many contrasts with its inherent racism and its hypocrisy over so many years. Yet it has been a land of opportunity and hope for so many. And it is to that ideal that America can now turn again. After 8 long years of a President who seemed proud to be known as a war President, I believe that Americans took a major step towards maturity on November 4. This was a great leap forward in the history of mankind. When a nation which much of the world has looked to for leadership shows that it can embrace change and is ready to take a big leap forward in its evolution, it paves the way for the rest of the world to have hope again.

Obama came across like a messiah figure as he gave his acceptance speech. Never before in my lifetime have I seen such elation, such jubilation, at the election of a world leader. Obama has a rock star presence and people see in this man such high hopes for real and lasting change, for something different.

As the emotion dies down and the reality of the task before him takes hold, people will realise that Obama is only human. Shaun Carney wrote a very good article in The Age this week alluding to this fact. He said that, such is the nature of the bureaucracy of politics, that Obama will inevitably be a disappointment as President. Obama himself said in his acceptance speech that government cannot solve all the problems of the world. While there is certainly the promise of much change for the better in the years to come, Obama will disappoint some. Some will even be disillusioned by him when they realise that he cannot do all that he wants to do. However this does not mean that there is no real cause for hope. Today we can rejoice in hope at a man who seems to have the genuine desire to be a leader for peace and freedom, and hopefully justice. Not since Bobby Kennedy 40 years ago has America had such a sense of excitement and put their hope in one man to make a change for the better.

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