Eight years ago today, back in 2000, I was sitting in a hotel room in Orlando, Florida watching the US election results. It was a pretty surreal experience.
I was still working in QA. Our manager had managed to send a couple of us down for a conference just before the company clamped down on spending. The dot-com bubble was bursting and our ill-timed (and ill-conceived) dot-com play was barely getting started before the bottom was falling out. I think by election day we’d already gotten the email about the first lay-offs. Fortunately, neither of us were on the list.
There was a rally in town the day after we got there. Personally, I was more interested in seeing if I could find a half-decent BBQ restaurant.
Of course, we didn’t find out the outcome that night. It was still very much up in the air, and Florida was at the centre of that. At some point, George W Bush gave a speech that praised the resilience of American democracy, that it could survive such turmoil. How great a country it was that such things didn’t automatically lead to violence and bloodshed. I thought “Does that cross people’s minds?” Like everybody’s about to run out and start shooting each other, but everybody has to hold back and say “Oh, right, we’re a democracy. We don’t do that sort of thing.”
I mean, yeah, it’s good it doesn’t have to come to these things, but honestly, if it’s even an option, you may have problems.
The last eight years have been pretty crappy, from a macro perspective. Change is in the air tonight. There’s a lot of hard work ahead. Here’s hoping the next four will turn the tide.