Whatever the next 12 months may bring and how it will affect myself, my friends, loved ones and people all over the world, it goes without saying the underlying theme we all seem to have for our future is an urgency for hope.
Not since the following months after September 11th, has the whole world come together, through a mutual plight against economic struggle, fear of terrorism and personal traumas, to hold their breath in unison and pray for a resolution to come that will make everyone's life a little bit less of a struggle. I know am lucky compared to others round the world who are still facing violence and atrocities I cannot even comprehend, but I have experienced on an intimate level the fact there are few friends I know right now, who have not had to struggle, all of them have a sense of desperate uncertainty in their voice when they talk about the next year may bring. Along with this though, there is a undeniable sense of determination that the year head will not and cannot be as bleak as the media, economists and politicians have predicted. I am not talking about blinkered naivety, more the sheer will to remain mentally intact during the adversity yet to come.
It has been fascinating to me to see how the world has reacted to this. A media-driven, often shallow and certainly at times seemingly heartless world has continued it's bleak and foreboding forecast of the future, misunderstanding the minds and hearts of us all by perpetuating the far too familiar tones to which over the last decade we have become accustomed to. Although this is not what the world wants or needs right now and voices have broken free and people have stood up to offer us a new line of thinking. The new President-Elect Barack Obama has come to epitomise this. I am not suggesting through my obsession with American politics, he is the most important figurehead of all those who have demanded more from the world we co-exist in, there are many 'unsung' voices, but he certainly is one of the most relevant right now. What Obama does represent is how a world has taken a simple message to their heart, a message long overdue and pure and straight talking. Obama's succinct, self-assured, humble message speaks for us all. For it is the American's people's voice, their will to begin with, that he has shaped his message from. He has been ingenious with his election campaign, asking for the American public to speak out, campaign for him, make his voice their own and vice-versa. It has also been beyond the typical campaigning fare and biased clout we are familiar with. He has risen above the usual slander, remained true to his message and candid in his approach. And the world in return has stood up and taken notice of this former Governor of Illinois. We have embraced him as a true revolutionary and I can think of only John F Kennedy who has managed to capture the nation's spirit during their period of history so perfectly. In turn, Obama has promised to deliver a transparent government accessible to all. He has used the internet to make this possible, much as he did during his campaign, each policy and discussion available online, for anyone to comment, contribute and question. The cynic in all of us can try to laugh it off as a cunning and clever campaign strategy, but so what if it is, it's what the world needs right now and to question the motives behind this new hope, is to somehow be pessimistic and wanting the world to fall flat on its face.
I am particularly enraptured by how the world has taken to the incumbent President of the United States. Literally embracing him to a point as, not necessarily their surrogate leader, but someone who represents the values they need in their own country, their own neighbour, their own state of mind. I look at the politics back home in the UK and no one even comes close to having the same spirit-level of leadership Obama has. I know having spoken to my sister in New York, election day was an incredibly momentous 24 hours and also especially poignant and personal event for many Americans in the process. We need to be listened to right now, now more than ever, we no longer want to be spoon-fed by a closed government and a petty and unforgiving media intent of breaking any ounce of hope we have, we need to have someone who is unashamedly truthful, smart, who demands us to be intelligent and accountable for our own actions and who most importantly inspires greatness in all of us during this current climate. I am surprised this voice has come from America, a place perceived as the source of what is 'wrong with the modern world'. Arrogant and crass and ignorant of others. But here we are, looking towards the USA for a reason to be hopeful.
So what does 2009 hold for us? Well for certain, we have to begin looking ahead with sense of purpose and renewed hope, not on the world scale I've just talked about, but within our own immediate lives. It will be the only thing I feel that will keep us grounded and positive.