Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The future is now

As soon as the clock ticked past 11pm EST, and polling closed in the contiguous US, all the media outlets announced Barack Obama as the next President of USA. By wide margin.

Soon after that John McCain gave a concession speech that ranks right up there in the great speeches of this decade. It made you wonder where this persona of McCain had gone to during the last few weeks of the election. Rather than expending energy wailing away at Obama, McCain should probably have spent more time talking about himself. Those that protest too much only raise intrigue about their own drawbacks.

While some of his supporters booed when Obama's name was mentioned, McCain admirably kept them in check and proved to be a model of grace and dignity in defeat. Politicians all over the world, especially India, will do well to learn from him. In the end, it is the country that is important, all said and done.

Here is the transcript of his concession speech.

Once John McCain cleared the screen, the stage was set for Barack Obama to come forth and acknowledge the victory. And he did, in a dignified and measured way. Occasionally breaking into a wide smile, he kept his composure and added some gravity to the situation. Incredible as it sounds, he knows, more than anyone else, that becoming President was probably the easiest hurdle to cross. The hard work begins now. Great men get anointed as messiahs after they have accomplished something remarkable. Barack has been given the mantle of one by his ardent supporters even before he has done anything substantial at the worldwide level.

His acceptance speech reflected this need for caution, too. On a stage (mercifully and incredibly) devoid of anyone else, Obama stood alone and spoke to everyone - supporters and detractors alike. The message was simple, delivered in an style sure to produce soundbites and elicited appropriate crowd reactions. But it was more than that - it was a message that the hard yards had yet to be run. The race to the Presidency was a marathon not a sprint. It is the next decade that will determine whether he won or lost, not just the events of yesterday.

The audacity of hope has yielded to the fierce urgency of now. Yes, he can!

Here's the transcript of his acceptance speech.

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