First, Neil Armstrong walks on the Moon

November 5, 2008

Then Barack Obama is elected President of the United States of America.  Guess I’ve lived long enough to have seen some pretty miraculous things.

A few thoughts on this:

  • I am quite happy that Obama will be the 44th President, he appears to be a decent and thoughful man.
  • The high voter turnout (something like 64%) can probably be directly attributed to his ability to inspire his followers, as well as scare his opponents; I’m sure lots of Republicans got out to vote who might not have, if the Democrats had not fielded as strong and inspiring a candidate.
  • Ultimately, I think he was elected for one reason — he made enough of the American people truly believe:

Yes we can.

It was definitely a moment in history, which is why I’ve compared it to Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon.  Both events were witnessed and marvelled at by the whole world.

In the case of Obama’s election as President, Canadians had a particularly close up view of the event — to the point where for many Canadians it overshadowed our own recent General Election, in which voter apathy reached new depths: an average 59.1% turnout across the country.

Granted, the outcome of the US election is important on a global scale, but I think many of my fellow Canadians far overestimate the impact of the person in the Oval Office on our own lot in life.

Frankly, the economic interests of individual states have far more bearing on life in Canada than Barack Obama, or any President for that matter, will ever have.  Congress will continue to pass legislation favouring the economic interests of those states with powerful lobbying groups, and where those interests are in conflict with those of the neighbour to the north, well, no prize for guessing who the Senate and Congress will be paying attention to.

So, we’ve witnessed history, and been caught up in the magic of the moment.  But the day after, Canada still has a government led by…  not Barack Obama.

What we need to ask ourselves as a country is:

Why can’t we?