Newspaper front pages from around the world, Nov. 5.
Hope, at Last! For One Day, Let Us Hope!
"After this already historic November 4th, let us admit
that we're caught up, almost all of us, in a sense of joy. For one hour or a
day, let us speak with an enthusiasm that is now sweeping the planet. For a few
hours, the Americans hope; for a few hours, the whole world feels better."
Hope, at Last! For Heaven’s sake, for one hour,
for one day, let’s not behave like blasé, cautious skeptics.
After this already historic November 4th,
let us admit that we're caught up, almost all of us, in a sense of joy. For one
hour or a day, let us speak with an enthusiasm that is now sweeping the planet.
For a few hours, the Americans hope; for a few hours, the whole world feels
better. Happiness?A new idea in
America. Just imagine for a moment the opposite result: a stiff,
conservative senator flanked by a mystical ignoramus perpetuating the brutal
policy of George W. Bush for another four years. A moral
nightmare, a political horror show.
On the contrary: On this day of exception,
the symbols clash with one another in the imagination. The ideal of Abraham
Lincoln, the dream of Martin Luther King, the New Frontier of John and Robert
Kennedy: four hopes interrupted, four prophets of reality sacrificed, who for a
moment have been revived through the grace of the ballot. These are the symbols
of an America that loves the future. The symbols of the America we love.
Tomorrow there will be time to measure the
difficulty of the task, to dispel illusions, to dissect the weaknesses of the
newly-elected leader. One can sense it. He carries more promise than he can
meet. He will look after the interests of a state as much as the dreams of his
constituents. He will have to deal with the cold realities of geopolitics. He
may not be the progressive hero that the French left fantasizes about. He is
undoubtedly more inclined to compromise and maneuver than most of his
supporters imagine. But his victory shows that the world can change - and for
once, for the better.
Obama may interrupt the course of the
conservative revolution that has dominated the world since the election of
Ronald Reagan. At last, the values of solidarity, attention for the weak and
justice will be represented at the White House. At last, no one will try and make us believe that the interests of billionaires should be confused with that of the people. At last, Americans can hope for better social protections,
control over Wall Street, appropriations for healthcare, education, the
environment. In a word, they can hope for a more humane society that will show
other nations that concrete justice is not always a utopian goal.
Next, because the vanquisher of November
4th is a man of the new century; mixed-race, a former social worker, grandson
of an African, Barack Hussein Obama has chosen to be American. His history
shows that identity isn't necessarily a fact of nature that locks men into
their birth, but also the lucid adhesion to democratic principles. With Obama,
there is a little of the suffering of the South ascending to the capital of the
North. With Obama, much of our world's mélange is ascending to the highest office.
Does all this seem naive, virtual, hypothetical? Perhaps. But for one hour, for one day, we must try to
believe … try to believe that for the first time in a long time, the New World
may actually live up to its name.