Yes, it happened! Obama is the next President of the United States. The selfish creature that I am, I will not follow the example of other bloggers on this site and analyse why this is good for America and for the world (though it is!). Instead, I will write why I feel so good about it.
In the last years, the sense of gloom that has been spreading ever since security became the number one issue in the free world, has become nearly unbearable. The hopeless idealist that I am, I do not like to think that security is the sense of life. People obsessed with security, with George Bush at their head, have not made the world a safer place, and they have multiplied the number of people who hate the free world and those who live in it. Since my own country, Latvia, despite its huge post-Soviet hangover, is part of the free world, this means that the number of people who have never met me but who hate me nevertheless has increased too. These are people who for the most part live in desperate economic conditions, for which they blame the West (sometimes justly) and who think that religion is the answer to economic and political problems. Instead of helping these people to see a chance of a better future, the hawks and the neoconservatives that multiplied during the last two Republican presidencies have offered no better solution than military force. This made my world a more dangerous place to live in. I have no illusion that the immense problems for the western world that arose from this situation will go away quickly, but I am happy that the people who provoked them are out of power, and perhaps something like a new beginning or a new approach is possible.
There is, besides, the sense of sheer glee, spiteful yet human, in seeing that this time the poor did not vote for the rich becoming richer. I am not a business owner and not an employer, and I am happy about the victory of a candidate who promotes an economic model in which the employees have to pay less for their welfare and basic rights like healthcare, and big business has to pay more. Since the US is a model to follow for emerging democracies, this may have far-reaching consequences. Besides, this election has been preceeded by a historic campaign which ignited interest in voting in people who had felt disenfranchised and did not care about politics before. More power for the less privileged is a victory for democracy.
There is, finally, a distinct streak of victory for racial equality and a more moderate yet still visible victory for gay rights in the fact that first, an African American was elected as President, and second, he mentioned gay citizens in his first speech after election. I suspect no other President-Elect did that before him. As someone who spends much of my time promoting recognition for minority groups, I am twice happy about Obama.
In other words, while I would not subscribe under every aspect of Obama’s political creed, I am happy that he was elected, and for perfectly selfish reasons.