America, Barack Obama, Sexual Equality

Well, who could fail to be inspired. The hope (to use Obama’s own word) and excitement reminded me of May 2 1997. I was one of the many lining Whitehall that balmy summer’s morning cheering our new Prime Minister, Tony Blair, being completely carried away by the optimism he was bringing to Britain. It was, indeed, a glorious day, just as it was yesterday.

I have two dreams of my own:

Obama’s statement in his inaugural address that “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers” bodes well for those of us who are humanists and secularists. While it may not be a massive move away from faith (and Obama is himself is a committed Christian), it did at least put down a marker that the 44th President may be moving away from the religiosity of the Bush years. I can only hope that freethinking, ie not possessing a religion, will again become acceptable in America. My dream will be well on the way if we see non-believer candidates for the 2012 presidential contest.

Obama has shown some willingness to carry forward the equalities agenda. Yet it is not enough for him to quote his personal experience as “a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant (who) can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath” and leave it at that. He must deliver on equalities. I was pleased to see three women among the 14 names so far announced for his Cabinet. Yet appointing Janet Napolitano, Susan Rice and Lisa Jackson is not enough. I want a complete change in attitude to abortion in America and equal pay across the United States, and that’s just for starters.