Thursday, November 13, 2008

The World Reacts

In case it isn't entirely obvious by now, I spend a lot of time wandering the Internet. I have a couple of forums where I post quite regularly that have nothing intrinsically to do with politics. Yet the week following the election seems to have prompted so many reactions! The other day, while I was reading this serious post of marital pain on one board, the Aussie writer took a paragraph out of the middle to say, "And let me just take a moment to say 'thank you Americans for voting in Barack Obama!' We were so thrilled to watch it happen and feel hopeful that the United States will be a place we can look to for leadership again." She went on to say that it blew her away that we really did it - really elected a black man.

Then I visited another place I post. Same thing. Canadians, Brits, Aussies all weighing in on how glad they are that we Americans got it right, that we took the chance to restore our reputation, that we offered them a vision of what it looks like to embrace our ideals.

Yesterday, a friend sent me an email with a note from her young-twenties daughter who is working in Rwanda. Elizabeth's goal is to empower women through her organization: AfricaGrassroots. I was completely amazed by her report of how her friends in Rwanda reacted to the news of Obama's election... but even more, I couldn't believe what they had to say about McCain!
Elizabeth is returning from Rwanda in a few weeks. They stayed up to watch the elections and the next day, she sent out this email to some friends. I thought you would enjoy, and appreciate, what she said.

I spent the very early hours of this morning sitting in front of a TV with about 10 Rwandan friends who stayed up the whole night to watch all the results come in. They screamed and cried tears of joy and pride when Obama won.

But surprisingly, their favorite part of the whole evening? McCain's speech!

They watched in wonder and amazement as McCain spoke highly of Obama and said that we need to now come together as a country to support him. They said "Can you believe this?? The loser is now supporting and congratulating the winner! He is telling America to come together as one country to support the new president, even though he lost!! Could you imagine if something like this happened in Africa!! Only in America!!"

Friends from across Rwanda called me all morning to say congratulations- and some just screamed into the phone and I couldn't understand a word of what they were saying.

On the other hand, there is a great deal of suffering and violence going on across the border in Congo right now. Today's victory and celebration of freedom provides a stark contrast to the daily reality of brutality and oppression in so many places in Africa.

Living in a country free of violence is such a luxury.... we should never forget how truly lucky we are.

Love from Kigali,
Maybe there is something to that "light on a hill" imagery we keep hearing about. It's a great country, isn't it?

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Hi Julie,

Thanks for posting this. It's nice when someone else recognizes the humility that John McCain expressed in his concession speech. I think impassioned Americans do not have the correct perspective at times.

Thank you for all your work during this campaign! You are an inspiration....and, I'm sure, when your candidate is the winner, you must experience a heightened sense of gratification.

Last time I checked in (which has been some time ago,) you were not attending a church, so your comment on a previous post caught me by surprise -- will look forward to that promised post where you unpack his sermon ideas.
Blessings on your week,