VIDEO: An Englishman’s Perspective On Obama’s Win

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: Bob is an Englishman who lives in Burien who wrote the following report on election night in America. We’re posting his story because we find it incredibly interesting to get perspective on the goings-on in the US from a foreigner living here…]

by Bob, an Englishman living in Burien

Something amazing happened in this country just one week ago, on Nov. 4th, 2008.

Of course, not everyone will agree, but there’s no mistaking that a very significant number of people in the United States are extremely happy.

A very significant number of people in the rest of the world are also very happy.

Some are happy because Barack Obama is African American, and that certainly represents huge progress for the country. But, for many it comes down to this: Barack Obama seems to be a President who ran for the office for us and not for himself; a President who cares about this planet as much as many of us do; a President who is clearly very smart, is honest, and inspires us greatly.

What more can we ask of the President?

For me, Election Day coverage began with KUOW while I was at work, followed by the BBC World Service. I caught the first results as I drove home and then was glued to the TV. It all happened so fast. As soon as Ohio was called, I knew it was all over. At 8:00 pm I thought we’d hear about some west coast results, but, suddenly, what we heard was:

“Barack Obama is projected to be the next President of the United States of America.”

It’s hard to write this without feeling very emotional. It was an incredible moment that I’ll never forget. Suddenly, common sense and decency had prevailed. All I can do is echo what someone in Australia wrote in response to the news:

“Congratulations to the new US President. There is now real hope for peace and prosperity and healing for the United States.”

Don’t let anyone tell you that it doesn’t matter what people in Australia think. It does matter. It matters enormously. There is no disputing that a large proportion of the citizens of the world see America as a global leader and with that comes responsibility and respect, something we haven’t seen enough of in the past eight years. But, things look likely to change now.

After President-Elect Obama had given his incredible speech, I regained my composure, jumped in my car, and headed off to celebrate with my friends in Ballard. On the way I took a detour into downtown Seattle and found myself stopped at Seneca and 1st Ave while hundreds of people walked by, waving and cheering. Drivers blew their horns in celebration and I just had to join them. I parked and then found the main congregation at Pike and 1st Ave. Helicopters hovered above to record the scene. TV and radio crews were there on the ground. The police did their part to keep the streets safe and I can’t imagine that they encountered any problems. All in all it was a wonderful occasion. A lady from NPR came to ask me some questions and all I could do was elaborate on what she already knew. It was very special moment.

After she left I looked down to find a red cardboard sign partially covered by leaves and obviously trampled by the crowd. It was red and advertized cigarette packets.

“Maverick” was the headline.

Enough said.

It was hard to leave the crowd, but off I went to meet my friends in Ballard and we shared an overwhelming sense of joy over what we’d witnessed. The next morning I bought some newspapers as souvenirs and felt a strong sense of relief. Relief that after what had happened in the country, Americans could now share the optimism expressed so well by the Australian commentator.

Something amazing happened on November 4th, 2008 and I’ll never forget that day.

Here’s a little over a minutes’ worth of raw video Bob shot while at the impromptu Obama rally:

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