Posts from America (5) - The road ahead

the Black Jack map of rumored capitals (blue s...

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Vegas ate my money last night. I thought I’d worked out a ‘guaranteed to win’ strategy on the Black Jack tables. Guess what, I hadn’t. But to be honest I didn’t really mind. I still feel I won. The US made an historic choice yesterday and I played a small part in my part of Nevada in making it happen. I’ve been involved in several political campaigns in the UK and for me, there’s nothing quite like winning an election.

Ahead of arriving in Nevada I’d wondered what kind of reception I might get. Would people be puzzled about why someone would want to come from Europe to get involved in the US election? Would they think I was meddling in something that didn’t concern me? Would they politely, or not so politely, tell me to go home? I didn’t need to worry, everyone I met and talked to, Democrat, Republican or non-aligned welcomed my involvement. The people I worked with were bowled over that four ‘guys from London’ (I didn’t confuse them with the fact that I actually live in Belgium) had been inspired to come and lend a hand. Every time we opened our mouths someone would ask where we’d come from and why we’d chosen to campaign. At last night’s victory party in the Rio Hotel we were treated like celebrities who everyone wanted to be photographed with. I was swept away by the distinctly US enthusiasm for the new president and enjoyed every minute of it. For the record Obama Girl didn’t make it… I’m guessing she was getting her head around her new brief.

Obama Girl getting ready for her new role

Obama Girl getting ready for her new role

Today I left Vegas and returned to California. I was given a ride by volunteers who decided just over 48 hours ago that they needed to be where the action was and head to Vegas to lend a hand. The conversation in the car as we drove back through the dessert was mainly focused on the future and on what ‘change’ will mean in reality. I was interested to hear what they think the new president will bring. Expectations are clearly high and President-elect Obama has a lot of people to keep happy. ‘Yes We Can’ served him well during the campaign, but it was a slogan into which each person inserted their own dreams. Keeping together the coalition he has built will be a challenge and he may well disappoint along the way, but I wonder how different the US and possibly the world will be at the end of his first term in 2012.

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