07 November 2008

Obama won, but his biggest challenge is not economy, war, foreign policy or anything like that

As reported all around, this week senator Barack Obama won the presidential elections in the USA. It was an astonishing victory, predicted all around as certain, but still celebrated as hell everywhere (electing Schwarzenegger and reelecting Bush might have taught the world that anything can happen when the subject is USA elections).

The hype from the campaign has not passed yet, Obama's face is still front page on several publications and, of course, topic of a lot of online stuff, both serious and non-serious, such as the game Super Obama World and the just released change.gov - this last one, a brilliant continuation of the amazing online campaign, where people can give sugestions to the elected president, keep track of what is happening through a blog and much much more. It's hard to deny the brilliance of Obama's campaign, engaging and interacting with people in the best spirit of what is marketing in the online community age. That campaign will for sure be awarded and remembered in the field as a groundbreaking one.

I don't intend to be the one who ruins the pro-Obama followers party (and I would not have enough influence to do that even if I wanted), but I am scheptical with the saviour of the US and the world role that is being given to Barack Obama.

I truly believe in change, in hope, in having great leaders impacting positively a whole society (if I didn't, why would I be in AIESEC, if that's exactly what AIESEC aim?) One good example of this possibility is the recently awarded nobel peace price Martti Ahtisaari, who was part of AIESEC. But, really, even if Obama is the one who will lead USA from the amazing bad influence to the world it has become, it won't be easy. Most especially, if he is the leader to bring change to this sick society, he will need followers, he will need other leaders, he will need all kinds of sacrifices and compromises, he will need loads of commitment from a wide array of people with very different agendas.

And what scares me most is if people are not ready/willing to give all this for the sake of the world.

I am scared of this because I saw the hype when Lula (president of Brazil) was elected as the saviour of Brazil from corruption, from poverty and all that is sick in my country. I don't intend to compare the semi-literate Lula with Obama, because the differences are obvious, but what we have to consider is that no one leads alone. And when we are talking about leading change, the main barriers are not the problems we want to change, but to change people's mindset, to change the day to day actions that lead us to the very current state we want to change.

To lead the change in the world is to change ourselves, not change the leaders we follow.

Are the republicans and democrats willing to change the way they do politics (in a manicheist way)? Are americans willing to change the way the live? Are the gun lobbists able to be pro the end of the war? Are the companies willing to sacrifice profit for common good? The list goes on, the possibilities for conflict of interest are endless.

So, my final and only question to Obama would be:

Are you able to change people's mindset?


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