It was a neat moment, all of us from different walks of life watching this historic event. I got goosebumps from time to time; inmates clapped and cheered at certain rousing points of the speech. The inmates and I exchanged some smiles and comments during the speech, with one inmate saying at one point, "I wish I was an American." In reading some of the comments at the CBC website this evening, it seems quite a few Canadians are expressing the same kind of sentiment.
I wouldn't go quite that far myself. I've always been glad to be Canadian, and glad that there are some differences between our two countries. For instance, I'm happy we have Quebec in our country and I like that we have two official languages. I'm also glad that our country gained independence via negotiation, and I don't mind being characterized as being overly polite.
That being said, listening to Obama's speech today, it sure made me wish (again!) for some visionary leadership. I do think that Obama's presidency will have some positive effects on Canada, which is a fairly obvious statement to make I suppose. Some of the effects I hope to see 'rub off' on Canadian politics look something like this:
- A move towards a more open and respectful political tone overall.
- The re-valuing of meaningful discourse, rather than the same old 'one-up-manship.'
- The re-valuing of science when making policy decisions rather than relying on the same old, tired ideological dogma.
- A renewed focus on what we all have in common as Canadians rather than playing one region or party against the others.
- Increased acceptance that the world has changed, and that it's time to pull together to work on the challenges that face the human race and the planet we all live on.
- Honest appreciation for the day-to-day grind that ordinary people face just making ends meet.
- Some better speech writing - c'mon people, surely there are some half decent Canadian speech writers out there who can help our politicians convey a sense of enthusiasm now and then!