Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A rare political interlude

Dear Mr Obama

Congratulations on your election victory. The phrase “making history” is often bandied about in the media, usually out of context and always with the tang of hyperbole.

In your case, however, it happens to be a simple statement of fact.

It is not just remarkable because of your ethnicity and comparative youth; the sheer scale of voter turnout is perhaps unprecedented and represents a laudable pro-activeness on the part of the American public. Your victory represents a massive sea-change in American thinking. Your administration has the opportunity to fulfil an equally positive sea-change in American politics.

I will confess to having always been sceptical about politics. Here in my native England, I have never voted for anyone; I have always used my vote as a vote against. Your countrymen, however, have overwhelmingly voted for.

It has long been my opinion that a politician – however progressive and humanitarian their principles and policies – is still shackled to the huge machinery of government and that by ascending to leadership of a party, or of a country, they have automatically received custodianship of a poisoned chalice; have already become compromised.

I think – I hope – that you have the potential to prove me wrong on this.

You also have the potential to re-represent America to the rest of the world (indeed, you have already begun doing this). You have the potential steer America away from the course your predecessor so ill-advisedly set it on.

Good luck and good wishes,

Neil Fulwood

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