Welcome Back Old Friend, I’ve Missed You

Sorry about the terrible audio quality but I posted it just you could see my immediate reaction. Here is a transcript of what I said in case you missed anything:

It’s now twelve o’nine, I am recording this for the blog. Uh, because it’s an amazing night tonight…I have just watched something which the likes of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X uhh…I mean even foreign people like Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela….you know all these people always prayed for, a black person to finally be given respect so owed to progenitor of modern humanity…and uh..I have just watched him…won….ascend the stage of the most powerful nation on Earth currently…ahhh..Barack Obama has been elected…it is a big big deal, he’s the first black president. He marks a fulcrum, a turning point in American society, if for one reason only….in one night he’s changed the face..(trying not to lose my shit)….he’s change the face of their country! How you view American ‘greatness’, American power, American history…as an American. I’m not an American but I can kind of empathize….how you view it…it’s, it’s not just a bunch of white faces anymore…that’s a huge, huge thing! Whether he’s a good president or not, I mean that’s, that’s for the future to tell…right now it’s a pretty great moment…I mean as Canadian and as the closest neighbour to the Americans and the long time partner and the long time friend of the American nation…it’s been a hard time for us, for the last…for the last little while…there’s been a lot of resentment up North….for Bush, for the last eight years….there’s been a huge rift between the Americans and the Canadians, which is a shame because when I grew up, you know….you always played soldiers, you played G.I Joes, you played Army…you always…you always wanted the Americans on your side because they were….good…you remembered what they did during World War II, you remembered what they did during the Korean war…so…this is a big deal. And for the first time in a long time, I’ve looked at an American flag and not…..felt….resentful or angry or distrustful. I was just watching the scenes of the Americans celebrating in Chicago and I looked at the flag and all of a sudden felt…..good again, I felt good about that symbol again. I felt those are our friends, those are our partners, those are our allies. They’re back….it’s been a long ass time..and it’s great…great to see (once again trying not to lose my shit). And while I’ve spent the last, you know, eight years saying I would never go to the States…I would never move to the states….I…I mean I love Canada and I don’t think I’m leaving anytime soon but I…I don’t know, there’s still a lot of problems, there are still things they need to fix but this…..this is something else, especially the way he won…it’s…I would have no problem….going down south..I mean it’s not..I just think it’s an amazing thing for me to say that I saw that flag and I didn’t feel angry anymore and I didn’t kind of sneer anymore. I saw that flag and said ‘yeah..I want to see that flying beside the maple leaf again’. So it’s a big deal for me, it’s a big deal for….how I was raised and what I was taught..and what…I believe…that this is the first step to real equality….worldwide…so…this is a big deal guys, let’s not fuck it up shall we?

with all that sentiment and heartfelt emotion, I of course had to end on an incredibly crass note. I must really apologize for the rambling, incoherent nature of the video but as my voice clearly reveals (and what the terrible camera quality doesn’t reveal about by eyes), I was dangerously close to breaking into either tears or joyous song. Hell I still am. For me this election is incredibly monumental for many reasons, some of which I shared in the video. But if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to illustrate one of the reasons which I didn’t cover in the video. It is becoming increasingly clear that young voters played an enormous role in Obama’s electoral victory. This to me is the first major sign of the new generation inheriting “the mantle” from the baby boomer and pre-war generation. Throughout my life and education I have been repeatedly told that my fellows and I are the future, that we will shape the world’s coming destiny. Apparently the future is now. The day has come for us to become the shepherds of human civilization and to carry its brightly burning torch into the still unilluminated decades to come. Perhaps the paradigm has shifted, I hope for the sake of all humanity that this is so. We have lived in the old world for far too long. I’m sick of dealing with its legacies.

In less ethereal terms this election has begun to exorcise several demons which continue to haunt American politics and society. It has forced the Republicans to re-assess their own party and hopefully finally rid themselves of the legacy of the Cold War and the Reganites’ choke hold on power. Along with them perhaps they’ll sap the power of the so called “moral majority” (see: a small group of bigots and religious zealots which have hijacked American political and social discourse). It has eradicated the ultimate glass ceiling for the African American community. A community which has endured apartheid, widespread racism and physical repression. They are now faced with the liberating and challenging truth that the America which forced them to endure all of that pain is rapidly disappearing and the old scapegoats can no longer be used to explain their social ills. Change has indeed come, but it is a double edged sword. This election has also challenged widespread voter apathy and cynicism in America. People have once again become in engaged in democracy. One of the single greatest products of human civilization. The American people have also begun to slowly realize that the idea of American exceptionalism no longer holds water in this increasingly global and integrated world. Years of unilateralism and Republican mismanagement has provided the n ation this startling wake up call. Personally, I’m just glad to once again see glimmers of the America I once called friend. I really have missed you guys.. I could keep going but in all honesty, I’m already tearing up again, so I’ll end by saying simply…for the first time in a long time, the world isn’t so dark and chaotic. And no matter how short lived, I have hope.

LIVE In Studio For Tuesday November 4th, 2008

Liza Hageraats, Feed The Mind Nova Scotia