Tuesday, November 04, 2008


As I write, some 29 million people in 30 states have already voted in the US elections, with a record turnout anticipated and the polls still predicting a win for Barack Obama. When he was about to be chosen as the Democratic candidate, I was sceptical as to whether he had the experience to take on McCain. The campaign has proved otherwise. I shall be very happy to be proved wrong at the ballot box. Though I remain less convinced than many that a win for Obama will bring the sweeping change many hope for, it will certainly revamp the general 'mood music' of American and global politics, and open up positive vistas and pressure points which have not existed in recent years. At one level this can only be good, though the reaction of others can never be predicted. Nevertheless, we shouldn't kid ourselves. In a modern, money-driven, corporate-led, technocratic age, there is a sense in which the old anarchist slogan remains true: "It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in." The former premise is not validated by the latter, however. It matters. If it provides an inch for people to live in when they might otherwise perish, it matters. Only those who have the luxury of retreating to their armchair are privileged to think otherwise and adopt a feigned neutrality or a hip cynicism. Go, Barack. And go those who at the grassroots who will be there to hold him to at least some of his practical ideals.

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