Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama - The Drummer's View

I've been lucky to have witnessed a few historic days and events in my years thus far. Some have been good, some bad and a few have passed by without me realising their magnitude until years later.

I recall, in the days even before Dinidu was a sperm his Dad's nether regions, the death of Elvis. It didn't mean much to me, he was just an old singer that people who were much older than me were keen on then. By "he" I mean Elvis, not Dinidu's Dad. I don't even know if he sings.

When I was about fourteen John Lennon was murdered and this time I was half interested. I was into music, just not "old" bands like the Beatles, though my knowledge was sufficient to know of their importance and impact on modern music.

A couple of years later I bumped into Pope John Paul the second in London, sort of. I was walking my Grandmother back to her flat in Victoria, we turned a corner and walked into a crowd of thousands, literally. We were outside Westminster cathedral and the Pope was inside giving a mass. As the half Muslim, half Christian, fully heavy metal loving kid that I was, I did the logical thing. Aforementioned Grandmother and I joined the throng and waited for the chap to make his appearance.

He appeared on a balcony, made some cross signs in the direction of the crowd, mumbled some words and then disappeared. I thought he might have played a couple of songs, perhaps an Alanis Morrisette number or two, but there was nothing, just some prayers. It was ironic, I think. After the wait of about an hour the Grandmother and I continued on our way. She, fully Christian though not Catholic, was quite chuffed to have seen the Pope. I knew it was big but didn't see what all the fuss was about. It wasn't like we were seeing God or something.

The death of Princess Diana is something I feel as if I really lived through too. Some people talk about where they were when Kennedy was killed. Here in the UK many talk about the Princess' death in the same tones. I was up really early that morning as one of the kids wouldn't sleep. I can vividly recollect how I saw it on the TV news, probably about five or six in the morning and how I felt that it must have been a dream or something. Then, when it became apparent that it was reality and big news, I rang a couple of people to tell them. Even as I type this it feels strange to think about.

I've never been a great Royal Family fan. To be a Royalist over here means something entirely different compared to Sri Lanka. Over there you go to the match once a year, maybe a dance or two and you beat up Thomians at every opportunity. Over here, being a Royalist means you buy lots of different mugs with pictures of the Queen and her family on them and you spend Sunday afternoons looking round palaces and slagging off Australians who want their own monarch.

I'm against the idea of the Aussies having their own monarch. Shane Warne as a King doesn't float my boat, though Queen Kylie has a ring to it. I bet she'd look good at the coronation too.

But yesterday I felt as if I was living through and witnessing a little chunk of positive and life changing history.

I know little about politics and I'm aware of that, which gives me a slight advantage over a person who knows little about politics and isn't aware of it. But that's like comparing a one legged fellow's chances against a two legged bloke's chances when they're both running, or hopping, against Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren.

I do know that the enthusiasm and feelings of elation about Mr President Obama were felt around the world. I spoke to people in Australia and in Singapore, in Sri Lanka and in the UK and all felt optimistic, all were buzzing and excited and caught up in the euphoria.

The blogosphere was positively infected with posts about Obama, not really saying much, just posts that more or less said "Whoopee, he won." They were the blogging equivalent of cheering and clapping, of putting two fingers in your mouth and doing that loud whistle thing that some people can do.

There's something reassuring about his election. It's a sign that the world, or the American one, wants change. It's the signal that they want to move forward and not live in the past. It might just be the biggest big thing that's happened in the world for quite a while.

Unless that supervolcano thing in Yellowstone goes off before this gets published. That would be a bummer wouldn't it?

Assuming it doesn't go off, this Obama being President business.

It feels good doesn't it?


Anonymous said...

I was surprised that I felt a pall of gloom lift from my mind on hearing the news! I can't explain why and all that, but I did! I felt my spirits lift and the world seemed a better place! The first bit of change has already been made...that of bringing back hope and restoring faith in a sense of possibility, I think!And he isn't even my President! However,I truly wish him luck!

Dinidu said...

It does feel good in the symbolic sense of knowing that a half black muslim fellow (and I am in no way being racist here) can be elected to the highest office in the US. I don't disagree with that. My only regret, is that Sri Lankan people don't pay the same amount of attention, nor have the same passion for a Sri Lankan election.

PS: My father can't sing AT ALL :)

Anonymous said...

It feels good all over! (except my throat which is sore!
It really feels good!

N said...

Dinidu, he's not muslim...he went to great pains during the campaign to point that out...that said the better man won (though the euphoria RE the shift in America is a bit overhyped)