Change can happen

Like many others, I stayed up until dawn to witness the election of Barack Obama as President elect of the United States of America.

The magnitude of the event was probably best summarised by Wendy Austin on BBC Radio Ulster this morning when she recalled that someone had told her that the person elected could have been the slave of the first sixteen US Presidents.

Whilst I remain elated and amazed that the USA has managed to realise true racial equality after legislating for it in the 1960s I am also euphoric that politics has been shown in a positive light.

Far too often politics is characterised by negativity, lacking in courage, with politicians often seen as being less than honest and radical change next to impossible.

Obama's charismatic and frank messages of hope and promises of change have inspired millions of people across the World, re-igniting many peoples interest in politics.

With the electoral battle now won a bigger challenge now arises for Obama to maintain the electorates newly found faith in politics. I am confident he will meet this challenge and eagerly await his inauguration speech on 20 January 2009.

Whilst Obama's victory may be rather frustrating in Northern Ireland since we are stuck with politics dominated by the old norms I am however determined to continue the fight to prove that change can happen. To those who ask if Northern Ireland can have the politics of Obama I say, Yes we can!

5 November 2008