Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Voting for Hope

I am trying to understand the weird marathon which is the American primaries. Both Republican and Democrat candidates have been going "all out" in their campaigning in Iowa, first of all, now New Hampshire. From what I can figure out these primaries are a way of testing popular support for party leadership hopefuls, yet they are "sound and fury signifying nothing" in some respects. The next U.S. election is still a long way off and the outcomes now may not hold in the long-run.

The key is momentum. Barack Obama is the Democrat who seems to be building that momentum. A black man in a country that has never elected a "person of colour" to its highest office even though emancipation happened officially 140 years ago and the Civil Rights movement is now in the history books.

As puzzling as all of this may be to us here in Canada we should pay careful attention. What happens across the border has a deep impact on us. The two surprise winners in Iowas, Mike Huckabee and Obama are people of Christian faith and there is a quality of hope in their very different messages which seems to have captured the attention of voters. What happens in the months ahead will be fascinating.

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