“We Have a Dream”

Lord Taylor of Warwick

Three years ago, I was in a hotel in Washington DC for a conference. I happened to walk into the meeting room at the same time as another delegate. We took an instant liking to each other and chatted about our hopes and dreams. He spoke about his ambition to be President of the United States of America. As I looked at this confident, young black man, I wondered if his dream was realistic. We exchanged cards and agreed to stay in touch. I remember looking at his card more closely because of his unusual sounding name. It was Barack Obama.

This week he achieved his dream. In his victory speech, he used the phrase “yes we can”. He does not take office until 20th January, but the election result is inspiring. It encourages people of all colours and backgrounds to believe that they can achieve their dreams. This is not just an American Dream. This can be our dream.

4 comments for ““We Have a Dream”

  1. Bedd Gelert
    08/11/2008 at 12:46 am

    I hate to rove ‘off-topic’ but have just seen this on Times Online…


    If Lord Saville is suggesting that his report will be so complex that an ‘executive summary’ may not do it justice, and that it would be over-simplifying to come down on one side or another, is there not a danger that the whole thing may be so impenetrable that almost no-one will read it, and those that do will just take away their own ‘spin’ based on their own influences ?

    Of course, that may be the whole point – and bumping delivery another year may put off the evil day when people have to face up to the ‘day of reckoning’ [as the Metropolitan Police are currently doing..] but what is this achieving ? Of course, it is a bit pointless complaining about the cost and circuitous route taken now – rather like whingeing to a cabbie when one requested travelling across London during the rush hour..

    Sorry, this does sound insensitive to those who lost loved ones, and they do deserve to get at the truth of what happened on that day. But when so much time has passed, and despite their pain and loss no doubt never receding, I’m not sure having read this Times article if we are really going to give the families on both sides any satisfaction, as it appears that in seeking to avoid a ‘whitewash’ we may end up with so much equivocation that no one will be able to see the wood for the trees.

    But we shouldn’t judge in advance of its release, and it is quite wrong for me to criticise when I don’t have any bright ideas for a much better solution. As someone who can harbour grudges quite happily for fairly small misdeamenours it is churlish for me to expect people to ‘forgive and forget’.

    But I can’t help feeling that something on the model of the South African ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ might have worked better to promote forgiveness, and been far more timely in helping to move on, than this endless procrastination to the ‘closure’ process required for healing the open wounds.

  2. Bedd Gelert
    13/11/2008 at 9:53 pm

    I know this is a bit predictable and a bit samey, but since both Matt Frei [the BBC’s man in Washington for ‘BBC World’] and Mark Mardell have been discussing it, and following Trevor Phillips’ comments, I am wondering whether you have a view on the likelihood of something like this happening here or in Europe ?

    America’s presidential system is different to ours, and we might need greater assimilation [in terms of numbers] into the upper echelons of politics [i.e. not simply at council / local party / local govt. level] to increase the chances. Indeed, the presence of Barack Obama in the White House will not, of itself, alter the composition of the lower tiers of national and state government in America.

    My own [possibly controversial ] view is that we in Britain are far further behind on the road to racial integration and equality than we might like to think. People in London can easily form the view that the rest of the country is at a similar level of integration to the metropolis, and certainly there is little overt prejudice.

    But scratch beneath the surface in the provinces, and I think many are not as enlightened as people who would like to hope – and the presence of Mr Obama in the White House may shine a spotlight on this in the months and years to come and ask some searching questions about what we intend to do about it as a society.

  3. howridiculous
    14/11/2008 at 4:17 pm

    It is interesting to note that Bob the Builder’s slogan is also ‘Yes we can’. I wonder if the President Elect is following his Vice in pinching lines from iconic British figures?


  4. Kelli Stewart
    20/11/2008 at 3:49 am

    I have to say, I voted for Obama and waited with baited breath to find out the results of the election. At exactly 11pm it was announced that Obama had won in a landslide, I cried, shouted out loud and promptly called my friends who had also voted for him. It’s the hope that with Obama in office the USA will do an about face and prosper once again. How well will he do in office we can not say, but the feel about town is if we can give Bush 8 years to cause this mess, then we should be able to let Obama try to fix it in four.
    Thank you and have a great day!

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