Wednesday, 5 November 2008

On the cusp of history

We are, for obvious reasons, living in a time of great importance in the history of our world. I am old enough to remember the first time man walked on the moon, and the time Skylab came crashing back down again. I remember watching the Berlin Wall come down, and the horrors of Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia. I remember Band Aid and Live Aid, and watching the Nelson Mandela birthday concert when news came through of his release. I'm barely old enough to remember hearing about Martin Luther King being assassinated, but today we saw at least part of his dream come to fruition.

As a detached observer, America in the last few days has looked very much like it did in Great Britain in 1979 and 1997 - people were just fed up, and ready for a change. It's at times like these that we see how democracy can truly work, when the people demand change through the ballot box as opposed to using guns and violence. Now they have that change - but the real question now becomes, what will that change be and how effective will it be?

In 1979, the UK got Margaret Thatcher, but the changes then brought misery to thousands as she sought what she felt was for the good of the country, regardless of the cost to individuals. We're seeing it again now in the UK, then years after New Labour came to power, and I do believe we'll see it the next time we have a general election in a year or two's time.

SO what next for America? I'm not sure, but Dubya is now facing the last 76 days in office, with the sure knowledge that nothing he does now (barring something stupendously brave or stupendously stupid, or maybe even both) will be noticed as much as how President-Elect Obama sets up his team.

Good luck and may your god go with you, as Dave Allen used to say.

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