Last night I spent a few minutes reflecting on the 2008 American Election and the momentum of hope. In Obama’s 2008 victory speech he offered this:
We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.
You can read the whole speech here. I’ve been fascinated at the focus on hope and the impact of belief, and self-belief, on this campaign. Times are hard and Obama has been faced with a shed load of cynicism, criticism and complaint, faith has been wobbling, and it was ultimately a very close call.
This year’s victory speech was, in my opinion, even better than the last. The novelty has warn off but the orator was back. Obama’s unwavering faith in America’s people came good:
Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family, and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people. Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come….
Tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the road blocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.
Obama is back, the light is in his eyes, the belief in his heart. That positive belief is contagious and I’ve never been more grateful for some hope. I sat watching that speech with my Mum, family life is difficult at the moment, Dad had no interest when his medicine was accompanied by the news that Obama was victorious at 04.30 today, but for us it was like a shot of energy, of pure optimism and belief.
The best is yet to come. The man with hope in his eyes said so. I’ll buy it.