Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change Starts Now

We here in Beijing woke up anxious this morning to see what kind of government the United States will have starting in January 2009.

And towards lunchtime it was clear Barack Obama would become the 44th President of America.

I bumped into an American colleague who gently punched my shoulder and happily said, "America is great again!"

That sentiment was echoed by friends and family in the US as well.

Change is here.

"It's been a long time coming, but tonight... change has come to America," the president-elect told the giant crowd in Chicago.

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer," he said.

He has captured the imagination of immigrants who now see you can come from nowhere and become a somebody.

And he has realized the dreams of minorities who now have proof that it doesn't matter what the colour of your skin is, you too can be the President of the United States.

His campaign was able to transcend the race issue. Through his consistent message of change, and trying to show people he came from an ordinary working family, Obama was able to speed past fellow rival Hillary Clinton and then John McCain.

But now the real work begins.

Everyone, including people in China, have pinned their hopes on Obama to solve many problems, from the war in Iraq to the global financial crisis.

However, he has already warned people in his speech that it won't be that easy.

"Even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. But America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there."

Hopefully his words will translate to some kind of action.

And his insistence that we get there together, has inspired us to say that yes, we can.

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