It occurred to me that an American might wonder why Obama’s election and inauguration should mean anything to me, a Canadian. After all, I was not involved in his campaign and almost all of the important policy decisions he faces will have almost no direct effect on my life and well-being. Nevertheless, his election and his inauguration are very important to me.
There are three reasons why:
1. Obama’s election and inauguration demonstrate that a well-organized and committed group of people can in fact accomplish anything — even that which was previously thought to be impossible.
2. His election and inauguration also demonstrate that an effective leader can be intelligent and accessible, nuanced and populist, sincere and charismatic.
3. Together, these two facts irrevocably refute the culture of cynicism which descended in the early seventies and has ever since dominated everywhere.
It should also be noted that these three facts refer only to his election and inauguration. Whether Obama is a great, unremarkable, or mediocre President is irrelevant to the point I am making. The fact that he and his team managed to do what no person thought possible can never be undone. If they can do what they did, then I, you, we — anyone — can accomplish the impossible in our own lives. And that’s why Obama’s election and inauguration is important to me. It proves anything is achievable, if a person can imagine it and decides to pursue it in good faith.