Dinidu asked a great question here, what will the election of Barrack Obama mean to Sri Lankans?
He wants to know how things will change in the Paradise Isle because of Obama's election, a valid and interesting question that can and probably will be debated for many hours. Ultimately it's only time that will give us the real answer, but we can have some fun until then speculating and attempting to prove each other wrong. This is my attempt.
One of the things Dinidu says in response to my comment, in which I ask who said Mr O's election would change things in Lanka, is that
"I haven’t seen people getting this excited over our local elections. Facebook status, chat status and everything."
His election is a signal of hope and optimism from the American people to the rest of the world. It's a sign that they, or the ones who voted for Obama, want change and they want it now.
It's fair to say that the direct impact of a new US President will hit the UK harder, quicker and bigger than it will hit Sri Lanka. Over here we live so much in the economic and cultural shadow of the US that it's obvious, even though they don't actually have culture there.
Frankly I don't think Obama will have much of a direct impact on Sri Lanka. He's not going to "invade" the island to sort things out nor is he likely to do that much in other ways to help achieve peace and stability there. My feeling is that no Sri Lankans are going to stroll around with the belief that Obama's going to change things on a local level in the island we all feel so passionately about.
But I think Dinidu and all others who ask the "what's in it for me?" question are missing the point. It's not about how he'll lower the price of bread in Sri Lanka or bring inflation down to two figures. That won't happen until the people that run Lanka PLC start to put the Company ahead of their own interests.
It's all about the feelgood factor. It's about hope and opportunity. I think that's what all the Facebook status lines (mine included) and the various blog posts are all about.
Obama's got it all to do now, winning the election was probably the easy bit. But it's such an indicator that if enough people want change then change can happen. It's such a message that hope can be found and optimism and good feelings can move and change things, that I'm content to drum my way through my days, weeks and months with the knowledge that good things will happen.
I don't know about you but I feel as if there are two groups I can belong to. I can be cynical, ask what's in it for me and think that things are crap, or I can feel positive and optimistic and really believe that good change will and can happen.
I know which group will make me feel happier.
Just like a certain Mr Bush.
It's a no brainer.