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November 5th, 2008


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05:00 pm - Where were you when...?
Like so many others, Meg and I are very tired today after staying up well into the night to see the results and the speeches. It was worth it and we are overjoyed.

In my lifetime, I can remember this sense of political euphoria once before: May 1st, 1997, when Tony Blair led the Labour Party to a landslide victory. It was a crushing defeat for the Conservative Party that had won four consecutive elections. Tony Blair proved to be far from a perfect Prime Minister, but the Labour Party administration was such a breath of fresh air, and such a change, from what had gone on previously that that was our moment. I have happy memories of a wonderful party in person that night; I will have happy memories of a wonderful party online last night. (However good President Obama turns out to be, he'll be so much better than the alternative in just the same way as Prime Minister Blair was.)

Now the difference between Labour and the previous four terms of Conservatism may or may not be bigger than the difference between Obama and the previous eight years of Bush, I don't know; we shall see, in time. It's not unreasonable to quantify the Obama change as being a more dramatic one by virtue of ending centuries of Presidency by one skin colour; it makes me wonder whether Margaret Thatcher becoming the UK's first female Prime Minister in 1979 was felt to be just as dramatic a change, at the time, by those who loved what she stood for.

The projected resolution of California 8 and Florida 2 is, of course, bigoted, regrettable and offensive, but folk's wonderful words of hope ring true. Defeat prejudice? Yes, we can.
Current Mood: optimisticYes, we can. Now, let's.

(21 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:huskyteer
Date:November 5th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
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> (However good President Obama turns out to be, he'll be so much better than the alternative in just the same way as Prime Minister Blair was.)

Thank you. I've been saying this for the last four years or so (about Blair, not Barack).
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 5th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
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You're welcome!

Ah, the old "quoting someone who has already used italic" problem...
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From:undyingking
Date:November 5th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
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Mm, certainly didn't feel anything like this when Clinton came in, or Carter which I just about remember.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 5th, 2008 09:00 pm (UTC)
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I very much doubt that I paid much attention in 1992, and - checking my e-mail - I don't recall much happening in '96. November 5th was an Invariants night, so perhaps addedentry, zorac, tkb or (most likely!) catalana may remember much more clearly. E-mail hints that I wasn't very well that day, so it's perfectly possible that fun people did something fun without me.
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From:applez
Date:November 5th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)

My view...

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(However good President Obama turns out to be, he'll be so much better than the alternative in just the same way as Prime Minister Blair was.)

I feel there's more to it than that. "Better than the other guy" wasn't enough in 2004. Presenting a revolutionary vision and restoration of unity proved decisive in 2008.

may or may not be bigger than the difference between Obama and the previous eight years of Bush, I don't know; we shall see, in time.

It will be massively different than the previous 8 years, guaranteed. Beyond any ideological element, the US is simply too poor now to afford a complete continuation of the previous 8 years of policy.

More than skin colour, what I find most exciting about Obama is that he is imbued in globalism. He embodies the promise of this country to the millions of immigrants that have sought 'that city on a hill.' I don't doubt there will be hard choices ahead, and Obama will command military campaigns like any President...but I have great hope that he and we, will be struck by the very real situation that longtime friends and cousins will be in any number of countries the US will be engaged with, which I can hope will mean a US that leads with olive branches before arrows.

EDIT: As for Prop 8 - I'm very confident that it will be overturned or negated in time. There are just too many people who are going to be adversely impacted by this Prop's passage...and the inhumanity of it will become increasingly apparent, in every town, every city, and every church in my great (and sometimes conflicted) state.

Edited at 2008-11-05 06:35 pm (UTC)
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 5th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)

Re: My view...

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It will be massively different than the previous 8 years, guaranteed.

I suspect so and certainly hope so, for the reasons you identify and more.

I can hope will mean a US that leads with olive branches before arrows.

Yep, yep.

I'm very confident that it will be overturned or negated in time.

It would be interesting to see the demographics of CA 8 votes broken down in, for instance, the way that the way CNN broke down many other votes; I'd like to see if it's reasonable to hope that the bigoted are more likely to perish than the open-minded...
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From:applez
Date:November 5th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)

Re: My view...

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It would be interesting to see the demographics of CA 8 votes broken down - Yes, I wonder how Palmdale went...

I'd like to see if it's reasonable to hope that the bigoted are more likely to perish than the open-minded...

Well, I think last night proved it's reasonable to be hopeful. ;-) Seriously though, a small community can believe it can afford to force out its unwanted homosexuals...but the costs will become increasingly harsh, as the place loses teachers, church leaders, business, even a mayor...besides familial ties with brothers, sisters, cousins. Besides the untenable inconsistencies within their own theocratic and political philosophies.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 6th, 2008 09:31 am (UTC)

Re: My view...

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Since then I have read that legal challenges to the proposition are underway already, but I don't want it to be defeated on a technicality - I want it to be the will of the people that the proposition fails!

*hopeshopeshopes*
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From:nmalfoy
Date:November 5th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
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What's the mood over there?
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 5th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
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Good question! Broadly favourable, largely neutral-to-ignorant, but I think the opinionated newspapers are broadly pro-Obama. There aren't any other country's elections we follow in nearly as much detail, apart from our own; one can hope for a decrease in anti-Americanism, though it may well take until after the inauguration to arrive.
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From:sophie10
Date:November 5th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
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Can we have a leader with some ideals, integrity and backbone now?
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 5th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
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I think there has been a Global Idealism Crunch, integrity has rebranded itself New Integrity, pronounced prag-ma-tism, and all backbones are being retrofitted with optional U-turn capability as required.
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From:ringbark
Date:November 5th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
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I come from a Clause 4 Labour Party background. The news that Mrs Thatcher had won was met with grave disappointment, and the fact that she was the first female PM was seen as completely irrelevant, as you suggest.

By the time Mr Bliar came to power, I was living in NZ and the news pretty much passed me by, though my parents were again disappointed. In the last couple of elections before she died, Mum voted for the Conservatives, saying that it was better to vote for Tories who were at least honest about what they were.

Hindsight shows at least some acknowledgment that Mrs T was a great leader: we may not like what she stood for or did, but you can't fault her for one thing: she said what she would do if elected, and when elected, did it.

Inter alia, I am still appalled by what she did to public transport.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 6th, 2008 09:37 am (UTC)
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Good points, all. Meg has seen many of her more conservative friends from childhood react badly to the developments and I imagine that I would have reacted badly in 1979, too. (I fear that I may yet get to react badly next time, but hopefully not.)

you can't fault her for one thing: she said what she would do if elected, and when elected, did it

Being so young - not quite four at the time of her election, I think! - I knew nothing of the strength of her manifesto commitments. Politicians making pledges and keeping to them has got to be a good thing, even if many people voted for some commitments that I wouldn't have chosen myself.

I have a strong suspicion that the quote attributed to her about the man on a bus after the age of 30 is a misattribution (and I want to say that it actually came from, sigh, one of her transport ministers...?) but it always really ground on me, partly for the anti-public-transport bias but partly for the concept of considering it acceptable to declare someone a failure.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 6th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
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For future reference, see the Daily Telegraph lettercol on the 2nd and the 3rd of November 2006 for more about the quote.

Hat tips to a very good off-LJ {f|F}riend and to Wikipedia.
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From:alhewison
Date:November 6th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
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Like you I felt euphoric in 1997. I've still got the paper from the day after the election - and I didn't manage that for either of my kids' birthdays!

I remember a feeling of dispondency in 1979 which was realised (and I was too young at the time to be doing more than echoing my parents opinions). So I agree that Thatcher was a great leader. But I think she did untold to our vision of society.

As for Obama...yesterday, I shared the feeling of euphoria which has seemed to resonate far beyond the shores and borders of the USA. He's got a very tough job to do now though, hasn't he?
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 6th, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
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I'm fairly hopeful that a good selection of newspapers from today, from around the world, are going to end up being saved for posterity digitally; hopefully they'll be fairly free and easy to access. I think Dad has some from the day of the first man on the moon somewhere, and some from the day of the marriage of Charles and Diana, and - unless I'm more mistaken than usual - the Radio Times and TV Times from the weeks when regular permanent breakfast television started on the BBC and ITV.

Immensely tough, but I hope he'll be given the benefit of the doubt in a way that past presidents have not, or have not earned.
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From:veronikamg
Date:November 8th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
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Errr, hi! :) I found your journal, I hope you don't mind me chiming in with the "Yay!! Obama!"-choir. I'm really happy for America, and it's fun to watch all the reactions! Most of my LJ friends are over the moon, some are even throwing parties, and the very few who are Republican (one actual friend) are going "Boo! Pathetic! WE wouldn't gloat like that if McCain won! We haz dignity."

I must say I'm brought up very anti-gay (I'm not kidding you, my Dad very nearly threw up once because he saw two guys kiss on a TV drama) but having gone to a very socialisticly minded high-school, and later discovering that two of my closest friends were lesbian and gay makes it nearly impossible for me to take that same stand. (And yes, I am religious on a personal level. So is my friend who is lesbian. I just don't believe that God hates any of his children for something they could not choose.)

My family used to be the strongly socialist-democrat/labour party sort of proud working class people. Mom was a bit radical in her youth and my Dad was a slightly infamous union leader at the factory and also second in rank in the local branch of our labour party. Somewhere along the way, probably after we got our first female PM who has been accused of ruining the country for ever, almost my whole family were disappointed with the pinkos and changed over to the radical-liberal right wing "progress party" FRP. As hated as they are by many, those guys may just win the election next year. *shrugs*
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 8th, 2008 06:08 am (UTC)
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Hallo! Are you Veronika from the Bar? You're most welcome, whether you are or not. (See brigbother as well, by the way, and there are a few other Barfolk on here.)

I do admire what I know of Norway's political and economic stances on things, even though the conflict between the generations continues as normal. Well done, you, for defeating prejudice that comes from within your family. That said, I'm not familiar with Norwegian party politics and the FRP (I confess to not immediately understanding how a party can be both radical-liberal and right wing, but perhaps it's just the concept of libertarianism by another name?) so it's something to look up at some point.

I vaguely know a guy whose wife ran for a mayoralty in Sweden, representing a party whose name is translated in English as the Moderate Party or the "Just Enough" Party - not sure whether she won or not, though.
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From:veronikamg
Date:November 8th, 2008 12:03 pm (UTC)
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Yuppers, I'm the one and same Veronika!

How can a party be both right-wing and radical-liberal..? Well, they are very liberal, and many of the things they want can be described as radical, but these radical new things are quite different from the radical new things the left wing wants, if you see.

FRP is in favour of personal freedom above all else, and their ideal society has mauch in common with the "American Dream" of earlier decades. Everyone should be allowed to be rich without paying taxes, because surely the government can get money from somewhere else. They think that if the state didn't stop people from getting rich there wouldn't have been any social problems.

They also think that the slightly err... troubled relationship between Norwegians and alcohol would be greatly normalized if booze was cheaper and available in stores around the clock. You see, the reason Norwegians drink themselves unconscious whenever they drink (which for many is every weekend) must be that alcohol is expensive and must be bought before 8 pm. :D

Earlier they were anti-gay, but they seem to have accepted facts and now they really don't seem to care on way or another. They are known to change their politics to fit in with the times. The people who don't vote for them call them turncoats, their voters call them modern nad dynamic. :) They are, however, and will always be anti-immigration, anti-muslim, pro-USA and pro-Israel.

I'm glad you don't think Norway is eeeebul! I used to hear that a lot 3-4 years ago after some American extreme-Republican politician said on TV that Scandinavia was the pits of immorality (Because we had already decided that same-gender marriage should be passed, and because women work and have their kids in eeeebul daycare. As one of my one-time LJ-friends phrased it "You can't love somebody you don't know. And you can't know someone you don't spend enough time with." So if your child is in daycare, it's impossible that you love it. Hardly any Scandie Mums love their kids!).

Oh, Sweden... yeah. The party the guy's wife ran for must have been Moderaterna, I don't know any other name for them. I think they are in government. Three years ago they voted in a brand new goverment after getting tired of the Socialist-Democrats. Upon their victory the new ministers were so popular they were "received like rock stars" to quote one of NRK's reporters. However, I doubt Sweden has ever had a government with so many scandals and shocking revelations before. I'm not sure they are still all that popular... :/

The party the guy's wife ran for must have been Moderaterna, I don't knaow any other name for them.
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From:veronikamg
Date:November 8th, 2008 12:18 pm (UTC)
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Ooops, a bit of copy&paste gone wrong at the end there. :P

Also I think I should say thay I'. *not* anti-USA at all, just in case anyone got that idea. I'm not anti-Israel/anti-Semite either. I was just pointing out a couple of things that will never ever change in FRP's program. I don't take them completely seriously as a possible new government, but that doesn't mean I'm against all they stand for.

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