I hear that an African may take the White House and can only applaud the vigour and dynamism of our cousins that they should contemplate the unthinkable. Observing the glitter, razmatazz and jousting of the US election trail, I can only marvel how my own humble campaign at MidLothian pales in comparison, albeit it may have a place in British political history.
So in respect of Mr Obama, I note that he was born on a Pacific island; that his father came from that unhappy country of Kenya and was born a Muslim; that part of his childhood was spent in the far east on the archipelago of Indonesia; and that Mr Obama voluntarily adopted the Christian faith about 20 years ago.
Not since the Emperor Severus has an African led any of the world's most powerful and prosperous nations, even though that continent is the cradle of mankind and the home of the ancient world's most stubborn and mysterious nations. Now after nearly two millennia, its sufferings appall the civilised world and it is surely time its people are offered hope, a beacon of liberty by which they can navigate to a future that is brighter and calmer than their recent past.
Indeed as I observe the fate of Mr Obama's ancestral home of Kenya, I can only wish I could have clung to life for a few more decades and steered our Empire towards its unavoidable dissolution. For Empire was unsustainable and the seeds of democracy needed to planted, tended and nurtured. In the first Dominions this strategy was successful, even among the descendants of convicts, but the destruction of my party early last century left a nation devoid of vision, paralysed by powerlessness in the face of a changing world.
So it falls to America to elect an African. I am indeed impressed by Mr Obama, who seems to have the power to win hearts as well as minds and has the capacity for greatness, even if he needs a little time to demonstrate it.
He is but 47 and may need to surround himself with wise heads if he is to rule. It may be that the American people will settle for the moment for Mrs Clinton; it is to be hoped, if this should occur, that Mrs Clinton should demonstrate her own liberalism of spirit by offering her deputy's post to Mr Obama and that he, setting aside the ill-advised jibes levied by Mrs Clinton's husband, will accept such an honour.
Jon Newton's grave in Olney churchyard
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