On September 11th, 2001, I was working in the middle of a clean room in a tiny building somewhere in the middle of Ottawa. Upon walking down the hall, I learned from a co-worker that a plane had just struck the World Trade Center. Thinking it was just an accident, I continued on with my job without any more thought to the event. Upon learning that another plane had hit the second World Trade Center building less than an hour later, I began to realize the magnitude of the day’s events.
A few hours later, I would find myself across the street on Hunt Club, watching history unfold on a small television perched above the bar inside the local Boston Pizza. Tonight, while sitting on a small table at the Yaletown Brew Company with Dave, I felt once again like history was being made.
Today is an historic day. Not just because the United States has elected the first African American president, but because it is once again a nation united together in its belief that things can indeed be better.
Even north of the border up here in Yaletown, Vancouver, the tears were flowing freely during Obama’s acceptance speech. It is clear that people are tired of being lied to, tired of having their freedoms trampled upon, and tired of a life spent slaving away so that the rich continue to get richer and the poor continue to get poorer. Obama represents (not just for the citizens of the United States, but for the entire world), another chance, an opportunity of a life filled with promise and hope, not just hardship and unmeasurable loss.
I sat there tonight watching history unfold, proud to be a Canadian, and proud to be a witness to such an historic political event. Yes, it is true that Obama may let the United States down. And it is true that he may let the entire world down. But now is not a time for defeatism or pessimism, now is the time for hope: hope that the world will be better, hope that the times ahead will be easier, and hope that all of us, despite our differences, will find a way to live together in peace.