This display (look at the windows on the first - that’s the second for you American folks - floor) is at the top of Cockburn Street in Edinburgh. Although it is amazing how much coverage the US primaries are getting here (I saw a poster for the Independent newspaper at the weekend that simply read “Election Coverage” and had a US map underneath the text) this is admittedly a bit of a one off, and I suspect some Americans live in the flat. It surprised me though.
To be political for a moment, I don’t think that Hillary could inspire such long-distance fervor, but Obama obviously can. People who criticize Obama as style over substance don’t seem to understand that style is important. The president is how America presents itsself to the world and also, perhaps more importantly, how it presents itsself to itsself. If Obama can inspire people to believe in America, and in the future again, then the people he inspires are much more likely to make sure that the future is the way they believe it can be.
Hope and optimism and compassion - and a belief in America and the people within it - are not just style-over-substance soundbites, they’re the values of America at its best. I’d like to see that America assert itsself again. I don’t think Hllary would make a terrible president, but I don’t think that Hillary’s America would have near the potential of Obama’s.
And I wonder why people here are fascinated by American politics… Perhaps I’ve answered my own question.