Wednesday, November 05, 2008

US elections - acceptance speeches

The main leg of the US elections are over. The electoral college has been decided. All that remains is the formal process of the electoral college selecting Obama and Biden as President and Vice-President of USA. I followed the election coverage on TV yesterday. There were a few words that were repeated so often by everyone - Bad economy... Change... New young voters... Once the poll projections forecast an Obama victory, both the candidates gave acceptance speeches in front of their respective home crowds. Both were them clear, courteous and did not express any resentment towards the other candidate.

The poll results started coming out as soon as polling closed in each state. The early closing states on the east coast started giving out the results hours before polling closed in other western states. In addition to this, the news channels gave out their projections and by 11:00 pm Obama was decisively projected to be the winner. Actually both candidates gave out their acceptance speeches even before polling closed in Alaska.

Both of them are very good orators. They did not have notes or papers and spoke as though they feel each and every word that they spoke. The crowd responded to each and every word of theirs. There were joyful tears all around in the Obama meeting. You could see the expressions of pride, happiness, achievement and determination on all the faces as he spoke.
First, McCain delivered his acceptance speech from his home state, Arizona. I liked it very much. He was quite gracious in accepting defeat and then wished Obama on his victory. He termed this to be McCain's failure and not the people's and asked them to cooperate with Obama. There was no complaints, no accusations and no drama. This is a very good example of how a democratic process should go. Here's the video of his speech.

Obama then gave his acceptance speech from Chicago, Illinois. He also wished McCain and Sarah Palin. He gave much credit to Mccain by saying that "the man has made so many selfless sacrifices for the country that many of us cannot even begin to imagine". He then went on to describe the tough days ahead and gave the example of an old lady in Atlanta who voted at age 106 and reinforced the faith that "together as Americans, we can bring change".

Obama's victory seems to carry a new meaning to most Americans here. The African Americans take this as an example of how anyone can achieve great heights in America regardless of race, colour etc. This has given them a lot of hope and energy. Obama has energized the younger generation of voters who had become disillusioned with the electoral process. This election apparently saw record turnout of young voters. Every demographic category seem to find something in Obama to be proud of. Let's wait and see how the next 4 years turn out.