I thought carefully about that title. It’s not hyperbole. As I wrote after the election last November, the leadership of the USA has influence around the globe, especially in Western Europe. So, yeah, I think the world has changed.
(It happens every day. It certainly happened on 20th January 2001, and it happened on 20th January 2009.)
I thought about pulling a few words from the new President’s inaugural address, but I’d have ended up copying and pasting most of it. You’ve probably read it or listened to it by now, but if you haven’t then you really should.
Of course, words are easy. The ability to move and inspire with words has never been a guarantee of any form of goodness. And yet, even with an Ulsterman’s cynicism, Mr Obama’s words give me hope. I may be on the other side of the Atlantic, and I may never have visited the States, but I was glad yesterday.
No man, no government, is perfect. At some point in the next four (or eight) years, each person currently celebrating will be disappointed. That’s okay. It’s not a criticism of Barack Obama. It’s a truth we can be sure he’s aware of, and one the rest of the world had best remember. At every decision to be made, someone will disagree. Sometimes doing what’s right will mean upsetting a great many people. That’s part of government’s job. It needn’t banish hope.
I’ve no idea how the next days, weeks, months, years will shake out, but yesterday I was glad, and today I hope.