This really should not surprise anyone who has followed the news coverage of the US election. As an open Obama supporter I am, of course, very happy about this outcome.
I moved here in august of 2004, at the height of the Bush-Cheney abuse of power and executive privilege. I moved from what is widely hailed as the most liberal nation in Europe, Sweden, to the most religion-abusive, devisive, and narrow-minded presidency that the US has seen in my life-time. And I didn’t care.
I have good friends here. My college degree is valid here, my career is here and my life is here. Opportunities I thought I would never have where here, and I was able to grasp them and make something of them, and of myself. Most importantly of all, my husband is here. Which means that everything that matters to me is in this country now, and this is where my home is.
The speech embedded below is the one that Barack Obama gave in Iowa, on January 3rd, when he had won the first Democratic primary of this election season. I’ve chosen to post that speech, rather than the one from Minneapolis tonight, for one simple reason: Despite all of the things I listed above, I could never understand how anyone could love a country like the US that I moved to. Like it? Of course. Respect it? Definitely. Fear it? Goes without saying. But love it? The nation that re-elected George W Bush and Dick Cheney?
When I heard this speech from Iowa, on the night of January 3rd, it was the first time since long before that August of 2004, that I fully understood how anyone actually could love this country.
Barack Obama talks about America in a way that makes it worth loving, hoping for, and fighting for. He seems to honestly believe that this is a good nation, of genuinely good men and women who can and will do what is right, no matter the cost to themselves, if they are only given the chance to do it. When Barack Obama talks about America, he makes it sound like it deserves the hope and faith he puts in it. And suddenly my new home country is one that I can love and be proud of.
“We always knew that hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.”