Thursday, 8 January 2009

Election Day/ Guy Fawkes Day

Still trying to catch up on all that's happened in the last few months. Let's go back to November...

The first guests to arrive were my parents. The day they got here happened to be the day of the Presidential election in America. We choose to not get any television reception in our home, but I still wanted to know what was going on with the election. I heard JJ Murphy's - an Irish pub up on Cuba St. - was going to be showing election coverage all day. They probably weren't the only pub doing this, but the were the only pub hosting the American Democrat's election-watching party.

USA 08 race at JJ Murphys

Patrons at JJ Murphy's watching the race

It was a warm cloudy day with misty rain on and off. We walked around the CBD alternately doing last-minute Celebration preparations and popping into JJ Murphy's to catch the tally. We were eating lunch at Offbeat Originals when we heard a cheer go up from JJ Murphy's down the street. When we went in to get an update, the place was packed. Obama had just won the presidency. Americans and Kiwis alike were celebrating. We watched McCain's concession speach, and Mom said how nice that the three of us were all together for this historic moment.

Obama in the lead

Parents looking hopeful as Obama takes the lead

It also happened to be Guy Fawkes Day, which is celebrated each year with a fireworks display over the harbour. As we walked the couple blocks from our apartment to the waterfront that evening, the fireworks were already going, and we could hear some kids nearby hollering "Obama!" It was an excellent display, with two launch points working in tandem from barges out in the harbour. It was easy to imagine the whole thing was a celebration of Obama's victory.

It is fair to say that mostly Kiwis are happy about Obama's victory. While American is not, in fact, the centre of the universe, most other countries do care about American politics, simply because they have to. American is still a powerful political and military force which likes to get all up in everyone else's business. And I think that if the world's population had voted in America's presidential election, Obama would have won by a landslide. Wellington will be celebrating his inauguration on the 21st with party featuring African and African-American music:


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