I had a weird dream last night. In fact it was more of a memory, whilst sleeping.
I remembered that I was back working at the PR company I worked for when I first arrived in the UK, four years ago. We worked in a renovated barn and I was charmed by the mole hills in the garden, but not so much by the rapidly dropping temperatures that signalled the bitter cold of winter. Was it November then too? Does the US election always happen at the same time every four years?
We had a huge flat screen TV on our wall as is the norm in PR companies these days and I remember as the votes were counted in the US election and a result announcement was imminent, the whole office stopped, moved from their desks and watched with mouths agape as the result came in.
Like many of my generation I remember feeling strangely buoyed by the election of the first black American into Presidential office. I blinked back tears. That my generation could do something so brilliant, so game-changing was inspiring.
It was an awesome thing.
And as I sat there I looked out over the typical English countryside, to the mole hills and the squirrels in the oak trees and thought how strange it was that I was here at all. The girl from New Zealand sitting in a converted barn in the English countryside watching America vote in their first black American President!
But it wasn’t just a race thing. Obama could have been purple for all I cared. It was simply that spirit of change and hope that got me and curled the corners of my eyes up into pools of tears. Facing the worst financial crisis the world has known since the Great Depression, we had this glimmer of hope that all would be OK in the end.
I often lament my bad timing in moving to England just before the Global Financial Crisis; it’s ruined my dreams of feathering my nest with Pounds Stirling and returning to NZ victorious. Things have not been so easy for us these past four years. I know, I mustn’t complain.
Have they been easy for anyone?
Yet this morning as I woke to the news that Obama had been re-elected I was reminded of how far we’ve travelled since that cold winter’s day four years ago. Sometimes we’ve lost the path and I’ve ended up sobbing on a park bench in the concrete jungle of Basingstoke wondering how the hell I was ever going to find my way home. I’ve lost my map and the breadcrumbs I left have been washed away by the melting snow.
But one thing I’m reassured about. As someone said on Facebook the other day – hope is an anagram.
H.O.P.E – it means – Hang On Pain Ends.
I woke this morning to the news that Obama has been re-elected by the good American people. I’m not American, I don’t have family there, so why should I care? Because for me, this re-election is portentous. It’s a sign that I will find my way home. It’s not simply an American Dream – to want to live in a world full of diversity and kindness and respect. It’s not simply an American Dream to want to see the end to war and to stop fearing my Son being called up to lose his life in an Afghan ditch.
It’s not American at all. It’s the dream of the Global Village. Thank you America. This is our generation’s Kennedy moment, you’ve given the ROW (Rest of World) hope.