Friday, August 29, 2008

Watching from Afar


Last summer the buzz in China, or at least in Beijing was that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be the Democratic presidential candidate and that she would be the first female president of the United States.

Many Chinese felt she had good political experience having been in the White House before with husband Bill, and that she was pro-China.

But many of us North Americans, at least us young'uns disagreed and explained that we thought Barack Obama was the one.

When he finally won the grueling race against Clinton, the Chinese were confronted with the reality the Democrats would be led by a half black man with not much political experience and his foreign policy unknown.

But this week they eagerly watched the Democratic National Convention. We turned on the television in our office to CNN and watched Michelle Obama's impassioned speech about her husband being the same man she met 19 years ago; Bill Clinton making the case for Obama; and Hillary Clinton persuading her followers to not split the party and join her in supporting Obama.

And this morning (Beijing time), we saw Obama, standing in front of a crowd of tens of thousands, enthusiastically accept the nomination to take on Republican John McCain in November.

His stirring speech appealed to the everyman -- the working class who are trying to make ends meet. He gave them a vision of the future, of better education for children, health care for all, and less dependence on oil.

The best slogan of all, was "Eight is enough". Wonder if that'll be a bumper sticker any moment now.

In the meantime, we have a small chalkboard near our main door where some people post messages or draw pictures to cheer colleagues up.

And it was great to see this message there.

Perhaps they were just as excited as we were, seeing someone who is an inspiration for change.

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