Thursday, 8 November 2012

Barack Obama and the American Dream

Since cycling across the US and coming home I have been craving and absorbing everything American. I don't mean things like McDonalds or in-feasibly large cars, but certainly some of their TV programmes, culture and politics.

So, as you can imagine, this past week has been very exciting with the US Presidential elections.

It's easy for me to say now, but all the way through the campaigns and on the day itself, I somehow knew Barack Obama would get back in for a second term. I was fascinated by how close the polls put Romney and Obama, and yet an online poll, one of many, put Obama's popularity outside of America at 82% over Romney.

Once the election had played out and the outcome was a certainty for Obama, there was a surprising reaction. It's almost as if people shrugged their shoulders and said, yep, knew that was gonna happen, thank goodness that's out of the way. When he had won in 2008 there was a palpable ripple that went around the world. The American Dream was alive and well.

However, a lot of Americans now feel the American Dream is dead, or at the very least, wilting. I noticed this during last year while crossing the northern states. Everywhere was the same, a kind of resignation that things were spiralling downwards. I was saddened by this. And worried.

Regardless of what your opinion may be of the US, it's foreign policy and it's loud culture, right now the rest of the world needs America to feel good about itself, to be confident and to believe in the American Dream. We need America to succeed, or at least believe it is possible. From this I think recovery could begin as the rest of the world are encouraged by America picking itself up and dusting itself down.

But that's just my opinion.

Closer to home I was encouraged and boosted by a recent success of a close friend of mine, and writer, Innes McQuillin.
After constantly trying, and constantly being rejected, he had persevered, then  just a couple of weeks ago had a submission accepted and broadcast by the BBC on the radio.

I've been trying for a lot longer and haven't achieved this level of recognition, but now I've witnessed this it's entirely possible, with the right conviction and determination, that dreams can come true.

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